You may be one of New Jersey’s 7,200 horse owners without enough surrounding cropland to benefit from applying all your equine manure and stall wastes to your own land. The 2012 NJ requirement for livestock owners to submit an Animal Waste Management Plan focuses attention on making the best use of manure nutrients while minimizing impact on water quality. While you may have more animal waste than you can use, there is a need for composted manure in our state. New Jersey has thousands of acres of farmed Coastal Plain soils with extremely low native organic matter (OM) and low native fertility that would benefit from manure produced on small urban fringe equine farms.
What moderate cost, convenient equine manure compost method enables equine operations
to efficiently and quickly compost manure, in an environmentally sound manner,
and produce quality compost available for distribution to farms with a minimum of fuss?
The answer could be aerated bin composting.
What is Aerated Bin Composting?
Aerated bin composting is sometimes referred to as “static pile” or “aerated bay” composting. A typical aerated bin composting system might have 3 bins that are each 8’ long by 8’ wide by 4’ high (256 cu. ft.). A reinforced concrete pad may be poured in front of the system to allow for easier tractor loading access. The bottom of each bin has slotted wood floorboards constructed with pressure treated 2” x 6” lumber. Beneath the floor are perforated pipes, placed on top of crushed stone. An electric blower blows air through the pipes and forces it through the pile. Each aeration pipe has its own gate valve to control the amount of airflow. This set up composts manure efficiently, quickly, and minimizes environmental impact.
Linking Compost Producers with NJ Farm Needs
Aerated bin composting produces compost quickly (30-days to compost plus 30-days to cure), without excess labor time and management, and without expensive capital investment in pile turning equipment. The more common windrow composting is more labor intensive. The aerated bin system easily lends itself to sizing according to the number of animals. The system is covered, has low odors, and avoids landfill disposal of valuable manure resource.
Conservationists are familiar with animal agriculture regions with excess animal manure for disposal, not enough land to support the nutrients, and the potential for non-point source runoff impacts to waterways. What they may not know is that NJ farmers generate only 14% of state’s total agricultural revenues from livestock. Except in a very few areas, NJ actually has a deficiency of animal manures and composts. We need more animal manures and composts to sustain healthy Coastal Plain soils for urban fringe farming. What we do have is a mismatch between manure generators and crop farmers. Equine operations constructing aerated bin compost systems to produce compost from their manure can help. Composted equine manure application to coastal plain soils benefits the farmer’s bottom line, crop health, and low OM soils.
|Frequently Asked Questions about Aerated Bin Composting There is a need for composted manure in New Jersey and Aerated Bin Composting may be an option for dealing with equine manure generated by your operation. Read about Aerated Bin Composting in our Frequently Ask Questions section.|
|Farm Calls: Aerated Compost Bins on NJ Farms We interview a NJ tree fruit grower who constructed his own aerated bins for equine manure composting. This reasonably cost effective method can help equine owners comply with NJ manure regulation.|
|Peckham Farm Demonstration Photo Gallery A 2011 visit to the USDA NRCS and SARE Aerated Bin Compost installation at URI Peckham Farm got me thinking that this innovation could, in part, remedy the mismatch of inadequate composting methods and grower soils needs in our state.|
- Effects of bedding type on compost quality of equine stall waste: Implications for small horse farms
S.Komar, R.Miskewitz, M.Westendorf, and C.A.Williams J ANIM SCI March 2012 90:1069-1075
- Rutgers Animal Waste Management
- University of Rhode Island Small Acreage Livestock
- University of Rhode Island Peckham Livestock Farm Aerated Bay System Compost Demonstration. 2010
- Composting for Small Scale Livestock Operations . 2002. Pennsylvania Small Scale Livestock Committee
- On-Farm Composting Handbook (NRAES-54). 1992. Northeast Region Agricultural Engineering Service
- Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension Bulletin E307, Best Management Practices for Manure Composting on Small Farms. 2006
- USDA NRCS. Part 637 Environmental Engineering National Engineering Handbook. Chapter 2 Composting. 2000
- USDA NRCS. Composting facility, Conservation Practice Standard 317. 2004.
- O2Compost Compost systems and training.
- Modern Composting Technologies. Edited by BioCycle. JG Press Emmaus, PA. Translated from Italian – A. & R. Chiumenti, Univ. of Udine, IT by Editors of BioCycle.
- Compost Facility Operator Manual. John W. Paul. Abbotsford Printing, BC, Canada.
- Rutgers Soil Testing Lab. Solvita test for soils amended with compost. Uses quick CO2 respiration test to gauge quantity and quality of decomposing organic matter contribution to soil fertility. From Woods End Laboratories, Inc.