When you raise cattle, chickens, and have horses, there is one more thing you have plenty of – manure!
Horses defecate approximately every two hours, cattle are tight up there with the horses, and we won’t even talk about the hens. Fifty pounds of manure a day, per livestock, well, there’s no other way to say it – That’s a lot of poop!
Our farm, like many others, pile it but then we need to get rid of it. You will regularly see our manure spreader on our fields or in our garden putting this black gold into the soil.
If it’s done right, manure will compost and turn into a rich black, earthy material that is beneficial to crops and fields. The animal manure adds organic nitrogen to the soil and plant matter, such as leave, straw, and even wood shavings or sawdust, add carbon. Both help plants thrive.
But there’s more. Yes, compost adds to the soils ability to hold water which is vital to the plants, especially during the dry season. Studies have shown that by adding as little as 1% of organic matter to a field or garden, the soil can hold an additional 1.5 quarts of water per cubic foot of soil. More organic matter – more water holding capacity. This is very important if the soil is sandy.
Spread evenly over a garden or field and plowed or tilled into the soil increases the soil’s ability to grow crops. Better crops lead to a better harvest.
What better way is there to replenish the soil and get a better harvest without the use of chemicals!
See you at the compost pile!
For more information on compost see http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/compost_increases_the_water_holding_capacity_of_droughty_soils