galute
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 2:04 am
Location: Bald Knob Ar.

Am I wasting my time?

Hi everyone. I've got about 100 cubic yard or so of old hay, cow manure mix that I piled up with my tractor from where I fed my cows over the winter. It has been composting down for a couple months now. I flip/stir it about once a month. When I do it's steamy and hot in the middle so I think it's cooking down nicely. My problem is that it is not practical for me to get enough browns to add to the pile to get a good balance of the needed carbons. I plan to keep turning it until next spring when I will move it to my garden and till it in. Will this imbalance hurt my garden?

Also I have about 5 acres of knee high grass/weeds that I plan to mow down and take my hay rake and windrow up. Then take my tractor and loader and push into another big pile to compost down. Is this a bad idea with virtually no browns to add to the mix? Sorry for the long winded first post. Thanks for your help.
Two heads are better than one even if one is a goats head.

pickupguy07
Senior Member
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:06 pm
Location: GA

I put quite a bit of horse manure (out of the stable with straw mixed in) into a garden I just started this year.. It has been wonderful.

But I'm not sure how it works with hay instead of straw. I am sure soemone will pitch in and help answer you
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

Green Mantis
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Posts: 931
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:52 pm
Location: Alberta, Canada zone 1a

Let the hay rot by itself. If not, you will have weed seeds everywhere. You could mix it in with your cow manure, but then you would have to let that rot a lot longer. It does work though, if you aren't in a hurry for the compost.-------Store the hay away from anything that could combust, as wet hay loves to catch fire!

toxcrusadr
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Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

If your pile is steamy you may be killing a lot of the hay seeds, but you will have to watch out for sprouts when you use it.

As far as C:N balance, if it cooks down into compost and doesn't stink too awful bad, you'll get perfectly fine compost. The pile is self-correcting, and if it has too much N it will throw it off into the air as ammonia and other gases. It's kind of a shame to see it go, but the resulting compost will most likely be good. I would think it would be done faster than next year. As soon as it cools this summer you can use some to side dress your garden plants.

On the 5 acres of grass, again with the seeds! And a 100% grass pile can be a problem as far as keeping it aerated - grass tends to mat down and shut out the air, then it smells bad. The hay in your manure pile is probably preventing that. You need something like old leaves, straw, shredded paper, sawdust etc. to mix with it.
Tox

galute
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 2:04 am
Location: Bald Knob Ar.

Thanks guys for the help. Sounds like my compost is gonna be just fine. I stirred it with my tractor yesterday and seems to be cooking down rather well. It was steamy in the middle and quite warm and didn't smell bad at all. There was 3 full round bales of hay left over from a couple years ago that I just piled the mixture on top of and they are all but gone now so it must be working. Thanks again.
Two heads are better than one even if one is a goats head.

toxcrusadr
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Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Glad to be of help!
Tox

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