A 1000-pound horse will defecate from 4 to 13 times each day and produce 35 to 50 pounds of wet manure (feces plus urine) daily, or approximately 9.1 - 12 tons per year. Typically a ton of horse manure will contain 11 pounds of N, 2 pounds of P, and 8 pounds of potassium (K). To obtain more accurate numbers, manure should be tested for nutrient content. Check Rutgers Cooperative Extension fact sheet, FS935, Feed and Forage Testing Labs for more information.
A horse kept in a stall will require about 10 to 20 pounds of bedding per day. This bedding should be replaced on a regular basis. Because of many types of bedding materials, wood byproduct (shavings, chips, sawdust), straw, or paper, the composition of the mix of manure and bedding will vary from farm to farm. In general, manure plus bedding will have a volume of between 2 and 3 cubic feet per horse per day.
Environmental Impacts and Benefits
Environmental Benefits: When managed properly, manure can be a valuable resource on a farm. Manure can be a source of nutrients for crop production and can improve soil quality. The organic matter present in manure can improve both tilth and water holding capacity of the soil. Manure can also be used as a fertilizer (N and P) for crops. However, most horse owners do not have enough land to use the amount of manure that is produced. Monitoring horse manure so that it does not cause environmental impacts is the goal of manure management.
Nutrients: When not managed properly, horse manure (feces and urine) can pollute the environment, mainly as ground or surface water pollution due to the nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon (organic matter). These nutrients can reach waterways as surface runoff or leachate from the manure pile.
Nitrogen excreted from horses is usually present either as urea in urine, which is quickly converted to ammonia (NH3), or it remains in association with organic matter in the feces. Ammonia (NH3) can be volatilized into the atmosphere. If NH3 from horse manure comes into contact with surface waters, it can cause nutrient enrichment and excessive algae growth. This process is referred to as eutrophication. Eutrophication is the process of nutrient enrichment in a lake or slow-moving stream occurring when excess nutrients from manure, fertilization, sewage, etc. are deposited. This can result in waters rich in mineral and organic nutrients that promote a proliferation of plant life, especially algae, which reduces the dissolved oxygen content and often causes the extinction of other organisms. (Adapted from Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 1999 & American Heritage Dic. of the English Language, 4th ed.) In the case of nitrogen, the excessive algae and conversion of ammonia to nitrate (NO3) causes a reduction in dissolved oxygen in the water, which can contribute to fish kills through oxygen depletion.
Nitrogen present in organic matter in the feces will be converted in the soil to ammonia and then nitrate, which can be taken up by plants. If plants do not take up nitrate it will easily move through the soil and can eventually leach into the groundwater where it can be a human health concern. Nitrate can also undergo the process of denitrification in the soil and be lost into the atmosphere as gaseous nitrogen (NO, N2O, or N2).
Phosphorus is also present in manure. When spread on the land it will not leach like nitrogen, unless the soil matrix where phosphorus binds becomes overly saturated with phosphorus. However, phosphorus will run off if applied at the wrong time of the year and/or when soil erosion occurs. This can lead to contamination of surface waters where it may cause eutrophication.
When manure is not properly incorporated into the soil, organic matter present in manure (contains carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus) can be a concern when it runs off into surface waters. Eutrophication and additional oxygen depletion may occur due to the decomposition of the organic matter.
Environmental Pollution Awareness
North America is the #1 emitter of Nitrogen in livestock manure management.
North America is #2 emitter of Co2 (China is #1) in livestock manure management.
Horses contribute, on average, 50 lbs. of methane gas per year. With 52 million horses worldwide, this creates 1.2 Tg (million tons) of Ch4 off-gassing per year into the atmosphere.
The macro-nutrients in horse manure (NPK)when left to decompose leaches into waterways and create algae blooms, phosphorous overloading, and depleted soils.
Concerns for our Environment with the Current Disposal and Use of Horse bedding
Stall Residual Waste that is collected from horse barns can be treated or disposed of in three ways. Although mainly banned now, stall residual waste can be disposed of in a landfill, burned through incineration, or sent to a composting facility. Disposed landfill waste contributes to environmental problems such as habitat destruction, surface and groundwater pollution, and other forms of air, soil, and water contamination, including methane off-gassing, which in turn contributes to global warming.
Burning or incineration creates airborne pollutants such as ash and contributes to global warming and climate change. Composting leads to increased methane off-gassing and leaching, while it decomposes for months in outside windrows.
Tipping fees for dumping waste to a transfer station are rising, and disposal companies are running out of disposal options. Furthermore, Waste stall residuals are also not well received by the agricultural community as it does not supply a lot of nutrient value due to the nitrogen capturing nature of rotting wood-based manure. Moreover, recent agricultural rule changes, as part of the Environmental Management act 2018, reduced outdoor manure storage to a maximum length of two weeks so waiting months for spring manure-spreading season is no longer an acceptable solution. Increased operations like HiPoint to repurpose the waste stream safely (and profitability) must be established.
The supply and demand for quality wood shavings are dropping due to wood mills shutting, long-term contracts expiring, and less demand for wood framing construction and furniture reduces the supply of wood shavings used for horse bedding. The recycling of wood pellets or shavings must be more than a single-use, or we will have continued shortages - recycling in multiple cycles is the answer.
HiPoint is an alternative green environmental recycling business that will initiate waste management best practices by integrating cutting edge technology, removing a waste stream, creating valuable resources for re-use and providing gas revenues all while protecting the environment.
Disposed landfill waste contributes to environmental problems such as habitat destruction, surface and groundwater pollution, and other forms of air, soil, and water contamination, including methane off-gassing, which in turn contributes to global warming. Burning or incineration creates airborne pollutants such as ash and also contributes to global warming and climate change.
HiPoint and the Horse Industry along with government support can help reduce nonpoint source pollution from horse manure leaching by implementing better transfer stations, removal hauling processes, and disposal methods primarily away from burning, spreading, or composting. Stall Residual water does not need to be a waste stream environmentally recycled and repurposed correctly we can gain everything and waste nothing while protecting the waterways from leaching, runoff, and pollution. See more at hipointbedding.com for the answer.
Climate Change - is affecting everyone. The current warming trend is (> 95 percent probability) is the result of human activity, which began in the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over the decades.
With the diminishing ability to effectively control stall residuals, due to tightening regulations on how waste is spread or disposed of, we are in a manure crisis not seen since the Great Manure Crisis of 1894. In London and New York, where only from the introduction of the motorcar and buses, this crisis averted.
*(ref great manure crisis of 1894)
Website title: Horse keeping guide to land management for clean water USDA
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URL: https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/climate-change/composting-avoid-methane-production Website Title: Composting to avoid methane production | Agriculture and Food
URL: http://www.thehorse.com/articles/32259/does-horses-waste-help-or-hinder-the-environment Website Title: Does Horses' Waste Help or Hinder the Environment ...
NonPoint Source Pollution AFS Policy Statement #3: Nonpoint Source Pollution
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