One of the central tenets of the green movement promotes turning waste into a resource. On a horse farm the biggest waste product, as we all know, is manure and bedding. It may be hard to think of manure as a resource, but an innovator that we know actually uses manure as a fuel source for heating an indoor riding arena. This was his approach.
Heating with Manure
Under certain situations manure can generate so much heat that it actually ignites spontaneously. Steven Houle, a mechanical engineer from Derry, NH, has figured out how to harness this heat into a fuel source. The heat also composts the manure.
Steven has designed a heating system for an indoor arena that uses the farm's manure and bedding for fuel. There are basically two parts to the system: one part generates heat and the other part distributes it.
The first part is comprised of a 12-foot diameter metal frame dome with screen stretched across the top of it. This dome sits under about four feet of manure (the more manure in the pile, the more heat is produced). A roof structure above protects against the pile becoming too wet.
More than one horse in a stalled situation can create a heap of unwanted manure. But owners can turn that daily chore of mucking stalls into a pile of "green" compost material, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service specialist.
Horse manure is the easiest type to compost, said Kevin Heflin, MS, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension associate in Amarillo.
While creating windrows might be the traditional way of composting manure, Heflin said, in a setting where multiple horse owners are cleaning their own stalls, it might be easiest to build a specific location for them to dump the manure.
There is more to a manure pile than flies. Manure contains residue from wormers and plenty of nitrogen. Picking up stalls daily makes the job easier and reduces the fly problem in your stalls. Hauling your manure away regularly helps to keep the fly population in check. Locate your manure pile away from nearby creeks or streams to prevent nitrogen and other pollutants from harming aquatic species. Place your manure pile on a concrete pad or other impermeable surface so that the nitrogen does not make its way into ground water particularly when shallow wells are located nearby. Another good use for manure is to turn it into composting material.