Cow manure

Gardening with Rabbits

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I was to have delivered I thought 2 year old manure, but they called today and said it is not breaking down good and is about 6 months to 12 months and has some straw in it. Will this hurt to plant in now?
 

Gardening with Rabbits

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So was the manure produced 2 years ago and has only broken down that far or are you getting manure produced 6-12 months ago.
Not sure. I thought it was 2 years, but looked at their ad and it does not say that. A few years ago it did. Said it was breaking down slow and was about 6 to 12 months and had some straw and was more fertilizer than dirt, which I need fertilizer.
 

Dirtmechanic

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If it is old enough to use you should still test it for long lasting herbicides first. Use some seeds that come up in a few days really fast like peas. They will pop up and start using the soil around them fast as well, and the second that happens you can detect herbicide damage in their leaf growth.

  1. Obtain 4 clean flower pots, and some green bean seeds.
  2. Obtain some commercial potting mix that contains fertilizer but is compost-free.
  3. Plant 4 green bean seeds into potting mix in each of 2 pots. Label these as No Compost
  4. Mix up a blend of 2 scoops of compost for each 1 scoop of potting mix.
  5. Plant 4 green bean seeds into this blend in each of 2 pots. Label these as With Compost
  6. Use saucers under each pot to allow water to be absorbed back in. Avoid overwatering.
  7. Follow normal seed starting steps. Keep the pots warm. Use grow lights if necessary.
  8. Grow until three sets of leaves appear. This normally takes 14 to 21 days.
  9. Compare the plants. If they all look the same, the compost is clean and safe.
Personally I would just put the seeds in the pile or in pots of it and let them come up.
 

Artichoke Lover

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Not sure. I thought it was 2 years, but looked at their ad and it does not say that. A few years ago it did. Said it was breaking down slow and was about 6 to 12 months and had some straw and was more fertilizer than dirt, which I need fertilizer.
I think manure is generally considered safe after 6-12 months but part of that may depend on whether it’s been composted any or just sitting. I would think the manure itself is safe but I’m not an expert. Also depends on what you are putting it on. Also like Dirt Mechanic said herbicides are always a concern.
 

flowerbug

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the other thing too, is that cow manure (composted and/or aged) may not be a very super strong source of fertility, it is better to consider it a source of organic material and a light fertilizer which used will give some longer term fertility boost but it isn't strong and won't be a huge benefit for a heavier feeding crop like tomatoes. the determination for the amount of fertility would be a measurement as how the farmer treated it and if the cows were also peeing along with it (like the floor scrapings from a dairy farm v.s. just cow plops collected from a field - the first is going to be much more fertile than the last), but either way if it was aged exposed to rains then that means leeching of nutrients could have happened.

not that i don't want people to use it, but you may want to amend with something a bit stronger for heavier feeding plants (i use worms/worm castings which are soaked with worm pee - that is, i don't drain off the worm tea or any liquid from my worm buckets).
 

seedcorn

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Have no worries about herbicide damage. Beef or dairy manure. Dairy manure will have more nutrients and non-composted, more cow smell. Worst case scenario, straw ties up some nitrogen. Apply some 28% to it.

Almost impossible to burn anything with cow manure.
 

Dirtmechanic

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the other thing too, is that cow manure (composted and/or aged) may not be a very super strong source of fertility, it is better to consider it a source of organic material and a light fertilizer which used will give some longer term fertility boost but it isn't strong and won't be a huge benefit for a heavier feeding crop like tomatoes. the determination for the amount of fertility would be a measurement as how the farmer treated it and if the cows were also peeing along with it (like the floor scrapings from a dairy farm v.s. just cow plops collected from a field - the first is going to be much more fertile than the last), but either way if it was aged exposed to rains then that means leeching of nutrients could have happened.

not that i don't want people to use it, but you may want to amend with something a bit stronger for heavier feeding plants (i use worms/worm castings which are soaked with worm pee - that is, i don't drain off the worm tea or any liquid from my worm buckets).
When I use composted cow manure to start grass seed on a patch, the grass starts showing a need for feeding in about 3 or 4 weeks.
 

baymule

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When I use composted cow manure to start grass seed on a patch, the grass starts showing a need for feeding in about 3 or 4 weeks.
What fertilizer do you use. A neighbor is going to give us two big piles of cow manure and I want to spread it on pastures. More for the humus to help with the soil than anything else. So if the grass will need fertilizer what do you recommend? Thanks!
 

flowerbug

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What fertilizer do you use. A neighbor is going to give us two big piles of cow manure and I want to spread it on pastures. More for the humus to help with the soil than anything else. So if the grass will need fertilizer what do you recommend? Thanks!

i'm speaking in theory here as i've not gone beyond worm farming myself as my main animals. :)

rain has some N in it, plus if you have some clovers or other N fixing plants growing in the pastures, you may not really need much else.

to me a big part of pasture grazing and stocking rates would be to make sure i'm not putting more animals on than what it can generate itself from the rains and mostly natural inputs. if i'm having to do much beyond trace nutrients to me that says i'm exceeding the carrying capacity of the land.

during dry times and cold times there is some need for supplemental feeding but the output from all of that can get spread on the fields or composted and used in a garden so it's not wasted at all - at least then you know what it is and where it came from. :)
 
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