Composting Horse Manure for Environmental and Economic Benefits
LSU Ag Center
LeBlanc, B., Sheffield, R.E., Moreira, V.R., Franze, C., Urick, L., Carney, B.
A typical horse weighing 1,000 pounds will produce approximately 50 pounds of manure and 10 pounds of urine per day. Horses that are housed in stalls may generate an additional 20 pounds of soiled bedding, depending on the type of bedding and the amount removed. Improper management of this waste has the potential to pollute Louisiana’s surface and ground waters. Composting is the acceleration of a natural biological process that converts organic matter into a stable humus-like material. This process is a great way to convert horse manure into a more desirable product. Composting produces a material that can be used as a low-grade fertilizer, mulch for reducing weed infestation, and soil amendment for retaining soil moisture. Land application of compost is also more environmentally friendly than stacking horse waste in lowlying areas and sinkholes or applying it directly to pastures. Besides volume reduction, as much as 50%, composting kills unwanted microorganisms and weed seeds while creating a more stable nutrient source.