burning horse manure

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by MaKettle, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    Someone who has an excess of horse manure is (gasp!) burning it to reduce the quantity. Has been told that burning it produces excellant fertilizer. Am sure there would be lots of potash and fewer weed seeds. But what would be lost? Wouldn't the nitrogen be lost as well the soil conditioning properties? Anyone have any experience with this?
     
  2. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I read an article in Backwoods Home about a guy who used his manure (don't know if it was horse/cow or both) for heating his garage. He put in a test garden bed to see which manure worked best (composted or burned) and stated that the "burn" bed did best.

    I'll try to dig up the issue later to reference it, but the guy really did take the experiment seriously, and continued it over 5 years.

    Pony!
     

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    You would get ash from the burnt manure and potassium as a result, right? I am guessiing the Phosphorous would be there too. I'm suspicous about the Nitrogen, though. I think it would break down to a different form.

    This reminds me of a buffalo farm nearby that I see close to the road. They excrete nice big chips which to me look ideal for fuel. Cow chips? Isn't that a useable form of heating fuel. If you had an outside wood furnace, this would burn if dry. You might want to do this on a day that the wind blew AWAY from the house. :haha:
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    After a curious search I found this article. It may be the definitive down home answer to the 'burning' question of horse manure ash:

    Backwoods Home
     
  5. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    Moonwolf, thank you for looking up that article for me. That is fascinating. I am sending it on to my friend. One would think that the lack of N would reduce the effectiveness of the fertilizer, butevidently it does not.
     
  6. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    Using manure ash as opposed to raw manure should generally concentrate the potash, phosphorus, and trace minerals while releasing some nitrogen. This is because potash and phosphorus are salts that do not combine easily with oxygen while burning, but nitrogen is a gas that is released from solid form by heat and is released as N2 or N2 gasses.

    In terms of using manure ash vs. horse manure exclusively for planting – manure ash with it’s lower nitrogen rate would be more conducive to plants. Raw horse manure is generally hot enough that it will burn off seedling and even kill some plants.

    However, manure ash looses what is probably the most important part of manure – the organic matter. Adding organic matter to soil (humus) makes the soil softer, which allows roots to grow easier, and both hold water better and let excessive water pass more easily. One of the best growing medias that I use is “spoiled hay”, which is almost 100% organic matter.

    Manure ash is a high P&K fertilizer. Raw manure is an excellent NP&K fertilizer, when mixed with soil. Composted manure is simply an excellent growing media.

    I generally don’t spend my time composting, rather I clean out the coop and spread as much chicken manure as I can get on my garden in mid February and early November. With the nice weather this weekend, I’ll be up to my armpits in chicken poop on Saturday afternoon I’m sure. I’ll till it under before I start my plantings about March 1. I don’t get much horse manure, unless I go asking for it. But I would have no fear with spreading old horse dung right on top of my heavy nitrogen feeder beds like onions, lettuce, corn and squash.