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Composting for Small Livestock Operation

Composting for Small Livestock Operation

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Published by: skjournals on Dec 10, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1 Compost Bin Designs
1. Why Compost?
Composting livestock manure is an excellentmanure management technique for small-scale livestock operations. By collectingmanure on a daily or weekly basis frompaddocks, stalls, and confinement areas youare not only providing a healthy environmentfor the livestock but you are also beingenvironmentally friendly.Composting not only provides the owner witha free source of compost for the yard, garden,and pastures that will benefit plants by slowlyreleasing nutrients, but it also reduces flies,odors, mud in confinement areas.Composting decreases the possibility ofparasite re-infestation, and prevents theintroduction of weeds by sterilizing weedseeds found in the manure.
2. Decide on the number of bins you willneed.
You will need at least two bins, dependingupon the number of livestock you have willdetermine if additional bins are necessary.The average 8’ x 8’ x 5’ storage bin will holdapproximately 320 ft
of material. Below is ageneral guide of how many bins you will needbased on the number of stalls you have.When planning your compost bins rememberthat you can never have too much storage.
 3. Site Selection
When planning to install a compost bin ormanure storage structure site location is veryimportant. You will need to find a high, levelarea on your property. Do not put thecomposter in a low lying area or you will haveproblems with too much water. Remember tolocate the composter far away from creeks,ditches, wetlands, or other water bodies.Check with your township or municipality tosee if there are any regulations on where youcan install a composter.For your convenience you will want toconsider having the composter closer to thebarn and paddock areas to make cleaning upeasier and less time consuming.
4. Bin Selection
Next you will need to decide what type ofcompost bin you would like to install. In thisfact sheet there are numerous designs forcompost bins made from materials that areeasily purchased at any home improvementstore. Each bin design includes a materialsand tools listing for your convenience.
Healthy Horses, Clean Water. Horses forClean Water. A Guide to EnvironmentallyFriendly Horsekeeping. Alayne Renee Blickleand Horses for Clean Water. 2000 2001Building a Compost Bin. Missouri UniversityFact Sheet. University of Missouri – ColumbiaFact Sheet.
Prepared by members of Pennsylvania’s Small Scale Livestock Committee.© 2002 
2 Compost Bin Designs
Landscape Timber Compost Bin
This turning unit is a permanent, sturdy structure. If planning to use a tractor and loader tomanage the compost you may want to concrete the posts in place for added stability.Below are supplies needed to build a three bin composting system.
Supplies Equipment 
8 8’ 6” x 6” treated posts Drill with screwdriver head & bit40 4’ 2” x 2” treated boards 25’ tape measure110 8’ landscape timbers (or similar wood) Chain saw or hand saw160 3” deck screws Carpenter’s levelTarp (or plastic sheet) to cover top of each bin Post hole diggerTamping rod or similar tool
Note: number of landscape timbers will depend on the type and width of the timbers you purchase and how tall you wish to make your bins.
1. On level ground, set the posts using a posthole digger. Embed each post at least 2 feet intothe ground. Be sure all posts are plumb (perpendicular to the ground). The top of eachpost should be at the same distance above the ground.2. Attach the 2” x 2” to the posts (see above diagram) allowing enough room for the landscapetimbers to fit between.
3 Compost Bin Designs
3. Insert the landscape timbers, one on top of another, sliding them between the 2” x 2”boards.

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