Aerated Static Pile Horse Manure Composting

Asked November 28, 2017, 10:40 AM EST

What are the average carbon or nitrogen content of horse manure and also used/urine-soaked pelleted bedding? With a desired 20:1 up to 40:1 of C:N ratio I would need to know to assure quality composting.

Champaign County Illinois

1 Response

Horse manure has a C:N ratio that is usually in the right proportions to work fairly well. Bedding can put the mix ration out of the desired range for optimum decomposition, some times as high as 60:1. All natural materials can vary greatly, C:N. Also you will have to do some work to break up the "apples" to provide better aeration and mixing. The high C:N ratio will still work, but very slowly. Odors can be very helpful in fine tuning the pile. Ammonia odors generally mean too much N and maybe not well enough aerated. A septic smell is definitely not enough aeration and maybe too wet. An earthy smell means everything is OK. If everything is working too slow but no bad odors, there is probably not enough N. See our guide on making and using compost.

For more info, a Illinois contact is:

Duane Friend, Educator
Environmental Stewardship and Energy
University of Illinois Extension
104 North Westgate
Jacksonville, IL 62650
phone 217.243.7424