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Zapatay
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When is manure considered ready-to-use?

I see a few farms as I drive around our area and am wondering, if I haul the manure - when is it ready to be used? Next year?

When is manure considered aged enough to use in garden?

Gerrie
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What about chicken manure? I have been putting it in the compost and usually it's six months to a year before it goes in the garden. Is that OK?
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Good composting practices with sufficient biological innoculation can turn some composts as fast 14 days utilizing modern methodology ([url=https://www.manuremanager.com/content/view/1318/67/]intensive turning[/url], [url=https://www.advancedcomposting.com/]forced air beds[/url], [url=https://www.portablescreen.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=39]Scarab turners[/url]; that sort of thing)

Quick show of hands; how many of you have all of the above? One of the above?

Didn't think so. So we must rely on the addition of time to allow our biologies to build to the level to mitigate pathogens, break down bulk into humus and basically turn our poop into soil.

So a long answer to say, when it looks like soil and smells like soil, it's soil. Turn daily, force air through the pile, water with compost tea, maybe run it through your Compost Cat, and you can be done in under a month. But if you want to do less than that , and who doesn't, then turn when you can until it looks, smells, and feels like soil...

HG
Scott Reil

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Thanks MG!

I know everyone wants a calendar definition because it makes it easier for we humans to plan that way, but microbes don't have calendars, so it just doesn't work. They move to the rythym of food, air, and water; time is meaningless...

HG
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Coming from a long farming back ground manure is ALWAYS ready to use. But the question should be more like how to use it and manure from what animals have different usages. Some burn (chemical burn) plants if you put it on them others are more mild. If you are starting a garden bed with nothing planted you can use some right then and there if you are planning on tilling and waiting some time before planting.

But the safe answer for such a general question would be to compost not just age any plant eaters manure. Then you can be for sure it's safe to use how ever you want.

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Plus as you compost the manure, you actually INCREASE the effectivenes over just plain poop, not detract from it. So there's that...

HG
Scott Reil

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I was thnking like this earlier today: in nature, manure is not spread evenly.

I could expound on all sorts of reasons European farming tradition has taught us to see manure as the final and first step of the poop loop. It just ain't so. Mammals are a tiny part of biomass in a balanced system. So a system with poop everywhere is likely unbalanced. Thus we come up with ideas like "rank feeders". IMHO the biggest force at play in most gardens is that of the self fulfilling prophecy. They need poop because you add poop.

HG - sometime let's explore the idea that while compost is key, maybe it's not a substitute for feeding the soil directly. In all that turning and speeding, I can't help but suspect something is lost. Are we trying to have cake and eat it too?

That said - consider an eastern method for dealing with poop - acid fermentation.
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I'd agree that manure is not spread evenly in Nature, but that is a function of ecotype, not agricultural input. You are operating under an agricultural assumption based more on our processes to date that it NEEDS to be enenlt distributed, because we humans LIKE even distribution. It is neater, and fits our Cartesian sense of order. But please note, Nature does not plant in rows or order it's ecotypes in neat little squares, so it is hardly concerned with even, or pretty, or fair. It just does what it do. AND after the wildebeest, or bison, or caribou or whatever ungulate has rolled through, look at the soil. Not turned over in pretty rows, but certainly homogenized. So there's that.

As for your misgivings about "losses" due to turning, let me assure you the opposite is true. We are FAR more likely to volatize our nutrition in an anaerobic system than an aerobic one, and this includes the lactic acid fermentation of bokashi or other anaerobic digestion systems, which I do not even call composting, as it is not aerobic. The USCC and I actually agree on this point... so turning is a preservant rather than a catalyst for loss...

I espouse compost above all other methodologies with good reason and have seen no scientific evidence to date that makes me waiver one bit in that resolve. It remains the easiest, safest, most permanent method for establishing sustainable soil fertility, and it works everywhere, every time. I see no need to question that untill I see some data that contradicts my thinking...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hmmm nice HG I see your point. Since we change the shape we change the shape.

Loss - I meant the chance for aggregate formation and fungal fingers. Lost opportunities and association in exchange for stabilization. Not so much leading us away from compost, but seeing it as a catalyst instead. Sort of. I'm having trouble expressing it.

So for instance, spreading compost good, spreading compost on dead stuff from last year or even cardboard better. I've seen accidental success when that happened, and I'm wondering what explains it.
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The process of fungal distribution is a main goal of composting. Turning is a disbenefit in the immediate for fungal cultures as ANY break in a hyphae ends it's growth, but this needs to be accomplished in the soil anyway, not in whatever vessel or pile you are using. Distributing hyphae is both impossible and pointless; we want to distribute spores. So while hyphae have a value as an indicator of good fungal counts, they are useless as an innoculant; it is the spores you cannot see that will do that...

HG
Scott Reil

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So you are saying the direct food (mulch, debris, manure in proper amounts) is still vital, and nobody said it isn't, and I'm imagining things? So it's not about manure or not, but as another poster said, using it properly.

Makes sense!

How would you assess what amount of manure and such to use and when? The year before planting? 2 years? 7 years of grazing followed by 2 years of corn?
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A cow pasture is a fertile soil. I'd likely see little or no need to add compost.

A field worked over by plants, all removing nutrition might need some, but what plants? For how long?

And what manure? Composted or uncomposted?

The questions are pointless without relevant data. I wouldn't guess at stuff; I'd do a soil test, assess soil biologies, and tailor my approach from there. Anything else is meaningless speculation...

But compost never hurts, just might be wasteful in some cases...

HG
Scott Reil

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Gotcha. No shortcuts, no one size fits most solutions.

Again, makes sense, if not satisfaction.
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Leaving a pile of manure out, wont the bugs eat it all?

If it's necessary for the manure to sit for up to a year, wont it kind of disappear/get eaten by bugs?
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Bugs? Very few insects eat manure. Even worms are eating the stuff on it, not in it.

Disappear? No, that's nuclear reaction, and we don't have glowing heaps of compost :lol: . But a lot of moisture evaporates, and some mass does move to microbiology like bacteria and fungi. But THAT'S what we want. That's the magic in compost. Microbiology is life, in us, in plants, and in soil.

Why is the cow pasture fertile long after the cows have gone? Why does the forest not need fertilizer fairies? We think we have to intercede to gain benefit, but Nature doesn't care what we think? What lands seem to produce the heavier biomass to you; cultivated lands or wilds? Ever been to the redwood groves? What do we do on THAT scale? It's biology, not chemistry that brings forth the most abundant growth. And it's easier in the long run.

The poop is just catylyst. Soil is biology.

HG
Scott Reil

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Missed something

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The Helpful Gardener wrote: Even worms are eating the stuff on it, not in it.
HG
..

If the bugs aren't eating it and the worms aren't eating it, I guess I need a more explicit explanation of what is eating it and then exactly what are the worms eating.

Not to be an alarmist but I remember that one possible source for the Salinas salad mix scare was from cattle manure in the surface water there. I don't recall that being strictly ruled out. I think the collective wisdom was that is was contamination from the wild animal population and that the solution was to fence off fields and surface water. A non-solution in my opinion but that's another discussion.

What exactly do the worms eat?

What eats manures?

Why must I use latin words like manure and feces but I can't use the good ol' anglo-saxon term that covers all that... Uh... Stuff?

..

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Blame George Carlin, rot. I think his rules for TV apply here... :lol:

I am not saying that poop isn't what goes in the worms gut, but the majority of his nutrition comes from the biology residing there, not so much that actual humus and content. The majority of THAT is expelled as castings (the worm has added mucilage and some other goodies, and ground it down more, but the bulk content is mostly still there).

It's much the same with us but we tend to start with a less refined and more complete product, so our chewing and digestion allows for a more complete chemical extraction of the nutrient. We are almost done with what we pass along; the worm must make do with what's left. Some very depleted humus, with some biology along for the ride.

Bacteria and fungi are far more happy with the foodstuffs we pass along as they are much further down the food chain and are really the ones cleaning things up, then the protozoa, nematodes, microarthropods and THEN our higher level predator, worms. The worms are more eating everyone preceeding them in this paragraph than anything else; the substrate is just the medium that they chew. Think of it as roughage for worms... :lol:

The spinach scare was pretty well linked to a nearby CAFO; the surface water flow went from there to water supplies for the irrigation. Poor agricultural practices that lead to surface compaction (increasing surface flow) and high-intensity feeding (leading to hardier, more virulent strains of E. coli) are issues beyond the scope of this discussion...

And I kinda like Latin. If we are gonna talk dead decomposing things, a dead decomposing language seems just about right... :lol:

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:30 am, edited 4 times in total.
Scott Reil

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Thanks again

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Thanks for the clarifications.

Regarding the diction issues. I prefer the anglo-saxon term because then for me there is no mistaking what I'm dealing with and how to treat it. Also I usually don't have to say it twice when I tell people not to touch that stuff.

Beyond that I get annoyed in this day and age of PC speak that it's OK to continue the oppression of the language of the anglo-saxons started by french speaking vikings a thousand years ago.

I won't go on about eating food versus having cuisine and so on.

I've gotten my two cents in. Thanks again.

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