Composting Horse Bedding

Composting can be an easy, efficient and environmentally safe technology for the disposal of horse manure if conducted correctly. Horse bedding/ manure can be successfully composted using either the aerobic windrow method or static pile method. Windrow composting generally is more practical for larger stables containing 50 or more horses that generate more waste. Static pile composting can be a viable manure management option for facilities with one to 20 horses.

Key Factors to Composting

Ideal Turning Frequency

First 3-5 days: Turn Daily
Next 3-4 weeks: Turn twice weekly
Week 5 to completion: Turn once a week

Aerobic Composting

desirable composting
desirable composting operation

Horse Bedding vs. Horse Manure

Composition Comparison
Horse Bedding   Horse Manure
0.79 % Nitrogen 2.0
52.0 % Carbon 50.0-60.0
70.3:1 C:N 20:1 to 25:1
40 % Moisture 70-80

Nitrogen Additives for Composting Horse Bedding

Comparison of Nitrogen Additives
Additive Nitrogen % Cost*
Liquid 28 28% 20¢:lb
Urea (solid) 45% 35¢:lb
Ammonia Nitrate
33% 25¢:lb
* as of February 2008

Composting Facts

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University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Agricultural Consumer & Environmental Sciences University of Illinois Extension