Composting manure from ruminants (horses, cattle, sheep, camels, llamas, goats, etc.) is extremely simple because manure already has the ideal nutrient profile that is usually obtained from combining “browns” and “greens”. Browns are dried or dead organic materials that serve as sources of carbon like dead grass or leaves. Greens are fresh organic materials that serve as sources of nitrogen like fresh yard trimmings and vegetable scraps. Manure by itself can be placed into piles, dampened, and turned in order to create rich compost.
Some special benefits of composting manure include:
- Eliminates foul odors
- Keeps horses healthy by eliminating breeding grounds for flies, parasites, and other diseases
- Helps protect watershed health by eliminating pathogens and nutrients found in raw manure which lead to particularly polluted runoff
- Use finished compost on your property to fight erosion and increase soil’s water holding capacity
- Reduces manure disposal costs for livestock owners
The County's Watershed Protection Program has created an Equine Residential Best Management Practices (BMP) Handbook to help you safely handle manure from a small number of horses.
Free Technical Assistance
The County offers free recycling and composting technical assistance to farms and businesses upon request. Please contact Recycle@sdcounty.ca.gov for more information. Composting education and assistance with compost and/or worm bin set up, and in some cases donation of bins, is available for schools located in the unincorporated county. Please contact the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation at (760) 436-7986 ext. 700 for more information.