Overwhelmed by horse manure? If you answered yes, it may be time to reevaluate your current management practices.

Michigan State University Extension has developed a resource a document to help equine owners feel more confident in managing horse manure.

A horse in a field

There are times when developing a horse manure management plan may seem like a daunting task. The good news is, is that it does not have to be. It can be helpful to compartmentalize the components of a manure management systems plan as this allows you to see what is feasible and makes sense for your horse farm. It is first important to think about what encompasses your horse farm by documenting the following information:

  • Describe your horse farm in terms of goals, objectives, partnerships, business opportunities, recreation and number of horses that currently reside at your farm.
  • Map land base resources: identify the number of acres you own/lease that are considered usable acres – grazing pastures, paddocks, dry lots, crop and hay fields, etc. for managing and taking care of your horse(s).
  • Map land base resources: identify the number of acres you own/lease that are considered unusable acres – wetlands, wooded areas, buildings and riding arena.

Once you have a good description of your farm’s purpose and land base resources, you can develop a manure management plan that takes into account your farm’s specific needs. 

Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) has created a factsheet to guide horse owners and barn managers through an 8-step process in managing manure that includes information from the following progressive articles:

Part 1: Volume produced and collection

Part 2: Manure storage

Part 3: Composting horse manure

Part 4: Manure transfer and application

Part 5: Manure utilization 

Part 6: Records and record keeping

Part 7: Odor management

Part 8: Manure emergency spill response 

If you would like more information about managing horse manure, please contact MSU Extension experts Tom Guthrie, Sarah Fronczak, or Erica Rogers.

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