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A Hack for Making Winter Manure

By Hubert J. Karreman, V.M.D.

Want to try an experiment with some pen manure or gut­ter manure (that’s not liquid)? I’ve read of a low-labor way of making compost by Trauger Groh, a biodynamic farmer in New Hampshire.


He does it this way:

  • Make a square pile of winter manure.
  • In May or June, split it into two windrows. Cover with black plastic and make holes on the top so it can breathe. Do not touch it anymore until it is ready for use the following year. Use it the next spring as a fully-finished compost.

Covering is critical because you don’t want it to be too wet. Manure with more than 70 percent moisture cannot build humus. Piles are 6-feet high fresh, made with straw/hay manure, and go down a foot or so as they age. They don’t use woodchips or sawdust, but if they did they would only need a little longer composting depending on size of woodchips.

Source: Four-Seasons Cattle Care