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How does this horse compost look

 
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hi everyone,

We have a horse and is at a stable down the road. We have access to the huge pile of crap thats been composting for very long time. They just pushed the pile to flatten it.  They use wood shavings in the stalls.

Just wondering what you think about this compost and if it is looking good.

I have some hugelkulture raised beds made with pallets. I am in northern CT and soil looks good, I think. May be lacking nutrients.  I did a jar soil test.

Bought some alaska fish fertilizer, some miracle gro all purpose 24-8-16, and seaweed fertilizer is in the mail.

Second to last pic at night was ithe compost mixed with boxes. The last pic was just the soil amended with perlite, peat moss, vermiculite and planted leafy vegetables May 6.  Covered with garbage bag and i started seeing sprouts May 12.

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pollinator
Posts: 11802
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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The danger of horse manure is that it may contain aminopyralid, a persistent herbicide.  Get a handful of it and plant a tomato seedling, seeds, or transplant.  If the new growing leaves are normal, the compost doesn't contain aminopyralid.  If the leaves are curled and stunted, it is contaminated.  It takes something like 5-7 years for aminopyralid to break down in the soil, so if you import it to your garden, all you will be able to grow is corn for that entire time.
 
Al Cha
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Hi Tyler,

Thanks for responding with valuable information regarding horse compost.  I've been reading about horse compost it sounds like the feeding/hay is a big factor in the nutritional facts. Is this where aminopyralid would begin?  If I call and ask the local company, which has been doing this since 1918, would they disclose that information?   ( EDIT) just sent email asking) I just planted a tomato seed in compost only.

They use one of these:

2nd Cutting Timothy/Orchard Grass hay is our softest hay with excellent palatability and higher protein. This 2nd crop is this hay is primarily orchard grass but depending on the season there can be some soft small timothy heads in it.  It’s most commonly used for feeding older horses, fussy eaters, foals or sheep and goats and calves. An excellent choice wherever a softer high protein hay is needed. This hay is grown by us locally in CT and also comes from other professional growers in the northeast. The bales average 50-55LBS.

2nd Cutting Timothy/Orchard Grass hay is our softest hay with excellent palatability and higher protein. This 2nd crop is this hay is primarily orchard grass but depending on the season there can be some soft small timothy heads in it.  It’s most commonly used for feeding older horses, fussy eaters, foals or sheep and goats and calves. An excellent choice wherever a softer high protein hay is needed. This hay is grown by us locally in CT and also comes from other professional growers in the northeast. The bales average 50-55LBS.
Thanks,
 
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Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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Looking at your picture of the horse manure in the truck I'd say this is excellent compost. When I see manure with wood chips here it looks like wood chips with maybe some uric acid and nothing else. I would treasure your manure. It's obviously well composted.
As far as the aminopyralid issue, I'd say that you're more likely to find herbicides in the food you eat including veggies, dairy and meat. And it's quite likely in the water you drink. And it's also likely to be in any compost you make or buy.
The question I have is whether this herbicide may have come from the horse, or the wood chips; if there were any.
 
Al Cha
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Hi John,

Thanks for replying!  I did some researching and there are stories of people using compost with the herbicide and it stunted the growth of their leafy plants.  I called NCAGR.GOV and they said it could take 18 months for the microorganism to break it down but there is no definitive answer unless tested.  I then called a soil tester in New Haven and talked to a Dr.  and doing a test on it would cost a $$$$. He said even grass clippings could have the herbicide soooooo hmmmm, well shucks!

 
Al Cha
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I just got an email back from the owner of the farm that grows the hay and they said they do not use Aminopyralid!  What about other herbicides?


hmm

 
John Indaburgh
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I have used a lot of horse manure since the mid 1900's. I'm not happy with what's happened to agriculture over that time; but I've never had any suspicious crop failures using manure. I'm more comfortable eating the crops I grow than what's available for sale. That said I'm still careful with how I use manure. I don't grow root crops in soil the same year I add manure. Same with leafy veggies. I eat the skins from the potatoes I grow but not from those I purchase.

I would like to have a horse and a couple steers; and I'd like to grow what they eat. Corn oats and the hay. I think I'd trust the manure and or the hay from an Amish/Pennsylvania Dutch farmer. But they probably use all the manure for their own fields.
 
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, USA
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The issue with aminopyralid is not that you  might consume some amount of herbicide.  The issue is that aminopyralid in the manure can kill your garden plants.

This herbicide is used to kill non-grass "weeds" in hayfields.  It is used on hay for horses, which apparently must be of a higher quality than ordinary hay.  One of the brand names for this herbicide is "Grazon."  

Otherwise, the manure looks pretty well-rotted and decomposed.  If it doesn't smell, and you feel sure about the aminopyralid, I would go ahead.  But first do the tomato test - you don't want to kill your whole garden!

Scary video that illustrates this:

 
Al Cha
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Hi.

So i had spread some compost on top of where i planted sunflowers May 8th.  Spread compost not too long after. I water eveey day.  Today i see them sprouting.  Is it too early to tell? I also put a seedling plant, 1 inch tall, into compost only, couple days agter posting this, and see no ill effects. I am beginning to see first official pepper leaves budding. The first first leaves have not cupped, but is that too soon to tell?

I also have mixed some compost with dirt, filled a container and transplanted 3 sunflowers. The first true leaves have come out and they look healthy. Is it too eaely to tell? Will get more pics up soon
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Al Cha
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Here are this mornings pics.

What do you think? A little worried actually. Not cupping but not super flat

What bit my leaf!? It was sitting in the 2-3ft raise pallet bed, along with the other stuff!  Is that a bird? Theres a nest in a bush that i hit and it got the birds stirred up. They started flying 5 ft above my head, looking at me, then big bird came along and was hanging out, going from tree A to tree B, in a circle. It was like they called the bird gang! I hope they dont mess with my stuff!
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Anne Pratt
pollinator
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I’m not sure, but I think it’s too soon. In the videos the plants are more mature and then the leaves have curled. The roots would have to take up the manure and then the herbicide would have to affect the plants. Your sunflowers are still growing their first leaves, likely fueled by the nutrients in the seed.

It seems unlikely that a farmer would use other herbicides on a hay field, but I don’t truly know. And aminopyralid is a persistent herbicide, one that is destined to stay in the plants (and in the horses’ manure) for a long period of time. However much we hate other pesticides, they don’t all have this kind of staying power.
 
Al Cha
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Thees sunflowers have compost mixed in with the soil. They are looking healthy? Maybe still to eaely?  
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Anne Pratt
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I wish I knew the answer! They certainly look good.  And you were told that the hay that was fed to the horses was not treated with aminopyralid.  So this is looking better day by day.

Permies, help!

Anyone familiar with Graze-on (aminopyralid) damage?  Would it show up in sunflowers this soon?
 
Al Cha
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Well everyone, looks like the compost is safe!  I have very healthy tomato plants, carrots, cucumbers etc!

Didnt realize how big these cherry tomatoes would get!

What a relief!

The 2 boxes to the left are not getting as much sun as I'd like so will have to move those for next year.

The empty box was the ones i had issues with. I plant too much in the shallow box. It had lettuce.  I added some more compost and organic fertilizer, and have second batch of spices coming!
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