Manure Management

The educational materials listed on this page are about Manure Management.

Manure management is critical on any type and scale of farm. Many farms that do not have livestock use off-farm manure for fertility purposes, while farms with livestock are challenged by storing manure and applying it to land in a sustainable manner. Sometime applied to fields as raw manure, there are many other types and uses of manure, such as horse manure compost, cow manure compost, goat manure fertilizer, organic manure and compost manure. Compost implies the manure is not raw but has been static or turned for a period of time, and therefore has broken down. Proper manure composting, including careful temperature management, will usually eliminate pathogens. If all harmful pathogens have been removed then composting horse manure to generate rich horse manure for garden spaces may be a great benefit for organic matter. Likewise, cow manure fertilizer could be good for soil fertility when used properly. There is not one single compost that is the best manure for your farm or garden, but if you learn the practices of how to compost horse manure, you are well on your way to finding out. Key practices include manure managementgrazing managementnutrient managementcompostingsoil quality/healthriverbank protectionwater managementnutrient cycling.

The Small Ruminants Topic Room is a useful starting place if you manage small ruminants, like goats and sheep, and want to find resources for manure management of these animals. If you want to understand the role of water in a farm system and how manure management may affect your water, check out Smart Water Use on your Farm or Ranch. SARE’s book Building Soils for Better Crops can provide useful information on how to reduce manure and nutrient runoff in order to improve soil fertility.

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Building Soils for Better Crops Cover

Building Soils for Better Crops

The fourth edition of Building Soils for Better Crops—enhanced and expanded—explains how to use ecological principles to build soil health and boost fertility, yields and overall sustainability.

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Cover Crop Economics

Cover crops can build soil health, control weeds, conserve moisture, provide grazing opportunities and more. But when do they start to pay for themselves? This analysis looks at the economics behind different management scenarios to determine if cover crops are likely to improve profitability in one, three or five years of use in corn and soybean rotations. 

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2015/2016 Report from the Field

Read about SARE-funded work in the areas of sustainable dairy cropping systems, soil health assessments, nutrient management, cover crops, beginning farmers, pollinators, technical assistance programs for women farmers, and more. This edition includes highlights of projects funded through the graduate student program, and the highly regarded Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship, a professional development program coordinated by SARE and NACAA.

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Agricultural Composting and Water Quality Fact Sheet

This publication is designed to assist farmers in conducting efficient, cost-effective, on-farm composting that presents reduced risk to surface and groundwater quality. It was written for operators of small to medium-size on-farm composting enterprises who handle about 100 to 5,000 tons of raw organic material per year.

Biogas: A Renewable Biofuel

A University of Florida website developed as an outcome of SSARE-funded research in biogas production on small farms.

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Sustainable 12 Aprils Dairy Grazing

When rising feed costs threatened to put his once-successful confined feeding dairy out of business, Tom Trantham made the switch to a pasture-based rotational grazing system, and now his operation has never been stronger.

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Dairy Your Way

This publication was created to provide information that will help producers explore the many choices available for today’s dairy farms. This book is not intended to be a how-to dairy guide or manual. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer for dairy farmers seeking success as milk producers, there are many options that can be profitable and satisfying.

GIS Applications in Agriculture: Nutrient Management for Improved Energy Efficiency

Provides an outline of how management recommendations are developed and how a ground-based active sensor can be used. It contains 24 case studies (exercises) ranging from using historical techniques to overcome production barrier to calculating soil organic carbon maintenance requirements.  A CD containing data sets is included with the book.

download the in-house composting in high-rise fact sheet in PDF format

In-House Composting in High-Rise, Caged Layer Facilities

This fact sheet describes research on composting manure inside of the buildings housing laying hens. Research showed that the addition of a carbon source coupled with frequent aeration of compost in a layer house produced temperatures high enough to inhibit fly reproduction in the material, and odor problems are diminished.

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12 Aprils Grazing Dairy Program

Tom Trantham's Twelve Aprils grazing program has been part of three Southern Region SARE projects. Tom has influenced scores of experienced and beginning dairy farmers through presentations at conferences and magazine stories. This online manual addresses the most often asked questions about his system.

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Profitable Pork

The 16-page bulletin features profiles about successful hog producers as well as the latest research on everything from greater profits to better-tasting pork raised in alternative hog systems.