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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:48 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:45 pm
Posts: 2
Location: May,TEXAS
I have access to a lot of dried cow manure and fresh as well. Can dry manure make good compst or the fresher the better?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:36 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:27 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Rockport,TEXAS
My opinion - fresher the better for composting.

Dry is good material, but nitrogen is volatile - some loss from aging.
How much depends on length of time and aging conditions.
Covered/not covered - piled or spread out.
If piled, probably already gone through a low-level heat.
Sugars & carbs are food for fungi that make a pile heat.
Add dry molasses or dark brown sugar to each manure layer.
And/or dry dog food - but cheap stuff can be a bit high in salts.

Moisture content of dry manure is another issue.
Hard to moisten really dry stuff after layering in a pile.
Any dry material in a pile will not readily decompose.
Better to soak it overnight and add to pile when moist/wet.
Making a 'tight slurry' in a bucket with a paint stirrer/drill is good.
If you do that, stir diluted dark liquid molasses right into the slurry.
Best when pre-mixed with grass clippings or chopped hay.
Or spread onto grass/hay layer and mix it in with water spray.

But if you have a lot, put down a tarp or large plastic sheet.
Dump the manure on top, then line sides of plastic with something.
So the water cannot get out from around the pile.
Remember to 'crown' the top of the pile (like a shallow volcano)
Then wet it down and rewater when no more water is visible at edges.
That way the water must seep through the pile (not run off).
If you use chlorinated water, you will 'sterilize' the pile.
Chlorine/hypochlorite is a very effective microbe killer.
Untreated well water or rainwater is best. Or at least, dissipated water.
Don't forget to use the 'tea' from watering manure if any was left over.

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