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applestar
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Manure and "worming" and other meds

I wanted to put this question up for discussion and see what everyone's views are on this subject.

I don't really use manure. When I started gardening, I bought the bagged manure at big box stores. I once left one bag out too long and it stank like ammonia, and that turned me off.

When I started composting I revisited the idea of manure again because almost every composting instructions talk about manure like an essential ingredient. But living in a subdivision and working 12 hr days made it difficult to stop at any of the horse farms along my commute, though I considered it many times. This was before the days of ready access to Internet advertising like free cycle and Craigslist -- recommendation was to check the message boards at the feed store.

When I became interested in learning to ride, I did being a few buckets of composted and fresh horse manure home... Until I really got into horse are and learned that the horses are "wormed" regularly. Then I started thinking about livestock care in general, and learned that "worming" is essential for all hoofed livestock. So I looked up ivermectin because I wondered if it passed into the manure and if it affected earthworms..... Then I started thinking about other meds/pharmaceuticals that are regularly given to livestock. (There was one horse at the stable that was regularly fed something "to keep her calm")

A couple of years ago, I learned that there is a rabbit rescue not too far away, and considered getting rabbit cage bedding from them, but never got around to it,

I'll stop here because I'm not that knowledgeable about this. Just bits and scraps of information gathered here and there and I haven't come to any real conclusion. Mostly not using manure because it's more trouble than I'm really willing to go through to get them, and, so far, not using it in my gardening repertoire hasn't made me think I really should make the effort.
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tomc
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Re: Manure and "worming" and other meds

Manure gets made by passing vegetable material through the gut of a critter, or through the gut of a microbe.

Everything else is more than little bit like telling where tripes come from.

I think the micro-herd eats or cleans up a multitude of sins. I probably do not have the backbone to put them to work cleaning up petroleum waste. Even though I know people who claim the herd can do it.
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imafan26
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Re: Manure and "worming" and other meds

Attra allows use of non-organic manures to be used on organic farms. There is probably more risk from herbicides used on animal feed (hay) than from the vermicide.

Attra and most other studies recommend that all manures be hot composted first. Vermicides apparently degrade rapidly after it is excreted, so time helps, but better that it is composted and not just piled up. Horse manure is very dry so it composts better when incorporated with other bio solids and horse manure notoriously has a lot of weed seeds that will sprout if not composted first.

Herbicides are harder to track and can be more persistant. Actually if they used Round-up it would not have been that much of a problem because it does not persist but is absorbed into the soil and broken down by soil organisms.
Some of the other selective herbicides, Clopyralid and aminopyralid, can persist and if gardeners apply a lot of the contaminated manure on their gardens it can build up and become toxic to the plants.

What is a gardener to do. Well if you are OC, you can make sure your source material whether it be manure or grass clippings have not been sprayed with herbicides. If you are not sure, then you can have it tested first for the presence of the herbicide before using it.

https://extension.umd.edu/learn/gardener ... and-manure

https://www.santacruzwire.com/index.php/ ... rdens.html
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Manure and "worming" and other meds

As you have heard before, I also have never used any manure on my garden or compost pile.

Part of it is lazy gardener syndrome; here in the heart of the city, it isn't real easy or convenient to come by. But as I have progressed on my gardening path, I decided that I prefer not using it, because I like keeping my garden a closed loop, where nothing is wasted, but nothing (much) comes in from the outside. If I had rabbits or chickens that I raised myself and fed from my garden, maybe I wouldn't mind adding their "manure" to the compost pile. Since I don't (yet? maybe in Chattanooga?), I stick to plant based ingredients.

I can't tell that my garden has suffered any for lack of manure...
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Manure and "worming" and other meds

I agree with SuperGreenThumb that the persistent herbicides are the main concern, not vet meds.

All animal pharmaceuticals are subjected to environmental fate testing, i.e. how much of it is excreted and how readily does it break down after that. I used to work (in the 90s) in a contract laboratory that performed such studies for manufacturers. The studies are done according to strict protocols. EPA regulates pesticides, FDA regulates the drugs. I will not go into detail about what the lab smelled like the time we tried to dry 10 gal of fresh turkey manure to do a study on a turkey pharmaceutical. Ugh.

The dose makes the poison, so the idea is to determine whether typical doses are likely to have a detrimental effect on the environment. Earthworm toxicity is one of the studies (although I didn't work in that area, I did soil and water degradation studies).

In the amounts likely to be found in manure, it is unlikely that there will be any kind of noticeable effect on the soil food web, especially after composting. I'm not a big advocate of pesticides and routine antibiotics for livestock. But the problem is not with the compost on this one.
Tox

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applestar
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Re: Manure and "worming" and other meds

Thanks for your comments, the discussion has been very interesting 8)

When I posted, I had focused on the meds so I didn't consider the herbicide issue, but you are right of course. Detrimental effects have impacted many gardeners.

It's also somewhat reassuring to know that EPA and FDA do actually involve themselves in this. At least there are documented data to make sense out of.

I wondered if people who DO regularly use manure directly in their garden in the fall to weather down over the winter or in their compost piles would join the discussion... but no? When I was casually researching it, I did come across "natural" vermicide/worming treatments including using diatomaceous earth and I think bentonite --but it might have been kaolin-- clay in the feed.
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imafan26
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Re: Manure and "worming" and other meds

We actually had a stable call us and offer the manure to us, since they really want to get rid of it. I asked them how old it was and what was in it and if there were any antibiotics or medications that may be in the manure.

The stable said that the horses were actually required to be wormed regularly to keep them healthy.

The manure age varied from 5 years to yesterday. Unfortunately, they just keep adding to the pile. It contained the manure and the horses for the most part were being fed alfalfa pellets and some oats. The stall bedding was straw and that would be mixed in with the manure.

Long story, short, some of our gardeners like the manure so much that it is gone within hours of the truck dropping it off. Most of it is added to compost piles or used as mulch.

For myself, I will add bagged composted steer manure and compost to my garden to boost the organic matter before planting. I still depend mostly on synthetic fertilizers for growing plants mainly because all I really need are nitrogen and sulfur for the alkaline plots and the organic fertilizers aren't very pure and do not supply enough nitrogen for my intensively planted garden. I also really like big plants and I don't get that with organic fertilizers. I also do not consider organic fertilizers as particularly safe since they can be a source of pathogens and I find synthetics to be safer in that respect or at least the risks are plainer.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Manure and "worming" and other meds

What kind of organic fertilizers can have pathogens in them? I assume you're excluding manure since you do use that. I'm genuinely curious as I don't use much fertilizer that's labeled 'Organic', so I don't really know what is in them.
Tox

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