Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Some Truth About Manure


I recently read an article in the Columbus Dispatch about the manure problem in Ohio.

The article starts out "Under the best conditions, raising livestock is a dirty, smelly business."

The truth is under the right conditions, raising livestock is not dirty or smelly.

Until last year I let my hogs spread their own manure 24 hrs a day throughout the pastures. Then I decided I needed to keep some for specific applications. So I have been bringing hogs into the barn for winter to collect the manure.

As long as the carbon ratio is right there is no smell or mess. In my case, wheat or oat straw. Lots of it.

By keeping a good bed of straw in the barn I tie up the manure right along with the smell and mess.  Anytime you're smelling manure you know right away your carbon is low.

If you don't tie it up with a carbonaceous material you are losing valuable nutrients that you can use on your soil to fertilize it.

The nutrients either evaporate, which you smell, or leach away which wastes the nutrients by fertilizing the lawn around the barn. Or worse yet, running of into a waterway somewhere and polluting the water.

The whole idea of a huge amount of animals in one place (for long periods of time) is so unnatural it's no wonder big Ag had to come up with all these nifty, yet environmentally unfriendly ways, to store it or get rid of it. 

Big Agriculture spreads manure that is usually 100 percent raw manure. Nothing added like straw or sawdust. Heck just put those critters on concrete or slatted floors and let the pure manure pile up and then we can overload the soil with it.

Bad idea all the way around in my opinion.

If you read any old books they tout the benefits of manure as a fertilizer. But that manure was loaded with straw or other material which added to the organic material in the soil.

The combination of the manure with the organic material in my opinion is far superior to just raw manure you get from a factory farm.

As sustainable farmers we have to make sure we are doing things right. No manure running off into waterways or overloading the soil.

The American public is getting tired of factory type farms ruining the environment with all these unsustainable ways. I don't blame them I'm tired of it too.

The best way to send the message is to stop giving the factory farms your money. Give to a farmer who is acting responsibly towards the environment and the animals or crops they raise.

At Spring Hill Farms we think that's the right thing to do...

Until next time! 



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Amen - thank you for writing this! I work at a radio station and when I saw this story come over the AP wire I had the exact same thoughts. The story also mentions that the manure problem is because the wet fall did not allow farmers to spread the manure in the fields. Like you mentioned, if you are pasturing in the summer you won't have to spread manure in the fall.

Posted by John Amrhein on January 19, 2012 at 05:35 AM EST #

Thanks for the encouragement. I read the article and felt like wow there is another side to this story. It doesn't have to be this way.

Posted by David on January 19, 2012 at 05:57 AM EST #

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