Each species of animal will deposit a manure that holds fertilizer with different content. Chicken, cow and horse have the richest nutrient content. The percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other goodies will vary with each group. When a field has been applied with a good dose of manure in the fall, the results in the spring are obvious. You will notice a richness in the green of the grasses that are growing.Our Pasture Fed Chickens eat off of a new patch of grasses daily and leave behind the digested remains. If you look carefully you will see the dark green that follows the cage. This pasture has been fed a diet high in nitrogen. The trail of growth is then eaten off by the cattle who in turn also do their own fertilizing. Symbiosis at its finest! Sure, a synthetic fertilizer will do the same, but it will not feed the soil and eventually take the life out of it. Chemical fertilizers do not create living soil.Humans, animals and soil must all be fed. The result of an improper diet can be sickness in many forms. Diabetes and Heart Disease are just a couple that plague our society. So, if you don't feed and nurture the soil you will not feed and nurture animals and humans.
When bedding animals, we like to use straw. Straw can absorb moisture very well. One hundred pounds of straw will absorb approximately 200-250 lbs of moisture. This is very important as urine holds a high amount of nutrients. capturing these are crucial if we want to apply it back to the fields. A fair amount of hard labor goes into managing poop. It goes through a number of movements(no pun intended) before it gets to its proper resting place. The fork on the farm is one of the most important tools.We have 2 favorites. The Hay Fork for feeding and The Manure Fork which speaks for itself. You may think this a flimsy topic. But the type of fork we use can make all the difference in how efficiently we get our work done. Imagine trying to eat using a fork with one tine. Frustrating wouldn't you say?
Once the barn is cleaned the poop will sit and ferment outside. This is a good thing. Lots of activity is happening during this process. The dynamics of composting in a manure pack are quite different than that of a garden compost
While our garden compost heats to break down organic matter, the manure pile should age slowly. Cattle can tramp the pile to keep air out thus reducing loss of nitrogen. Nitrogen being a key factor to good growth in the fields. Once Fall rolls around we get to work and start spreading it on the fields. The rains allows the ground to absorb its nutrients and hold it over the winter months. When spring arrives with its warmth it then activates the process into growing protein rich fuel for the animals.
I thought long and hard about this post. Would my readers be interested in poop? It isn't one of the prettier sides of the farm but as you've read, it is another facet to its intricate web of collaborative workings . An absolutely imperative factor in how we raise quality food . It is part of the circle of life in the world of agriculture. So if you ever come across a meadow muffin, cow plop or dung pile again, perhaps your viewpoint on sh_t will be slightly altered and you can have a better understanding of why it's so important to us as farmers and you as consumers. We have only the highest regards for the Holy Sh_t the animals provide. It is just that! To us it is divine, pure and revered!