Collecting and composting fresh manure gives microbes and other soil biota the chance to turn basic nitrogen in manure into more complex organic compounds that are increasingly available to plants and other soil microbes, reducing the leeching of (N) into the regions water table.
Nutrients from un-composted horse manure contribute a large amount of Nitrogen (N) to groundwater on the Swan Coastal Plain and increases the likelihood of algal blooms in creeks, rivers and the Peel-Harvey Estuary.
To combat this and increase the community’s awareness of solutions to this problem, PHCC’s Greening Farms project supported the Serpentine Jarrahdale Food & Farm Alliance Inc. to run a community workshop on creating compost from horse manure at Shanley Green Agistment Centre in Mardella.
Collecting and composting fresh manure gives microbes and other soil biota the chance to turn the basic nitrogen in raw manure into more complex organic compounds that are increasingly available to plants and other soil microbes, reducing the leeching of (N) into the regions water table. Once composting is complete and the manure is spread, plants taking up these nutrients really thrive, provide shelter and shade for farm animals & wildlife and then in turn return nutrients back into the soil via their roots.
Participants heard from Ellen & Bonnie from Earthwhile Australia, who explained how four key organisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoans & nematodes) break down the nitrogen into compounds that benefit plants and increase soil health. Helping these organisms thrive by composting manure and using the resulting material is an effective way to increase soil health; which in simple terms is about encouraging more bacteria and fungi to live in the your soil.
Robyn from Waste Is My Resource then explained (and demonstrated) a Fermentation Composting method which can be used by horse owners on all property sizes, layering the manure with used hay and a special compost tea to introduce and stimulate microbial action.
Participants were full of interest and enthusiasm and keen to take this knowledge and the new techniques back to their own properties to try it for themselves. Not only does collecting and composting horse manure provide an opportunity to improve soil heathy and reduce nitrogen leeching into the Peel-Harvey Estuary, it also makes use of an otherwise troublesome product. This workshop was also supported by the State Natural Resource Management Program, Landcare SJ and the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.
If you want to know more about the Fermentation Compost technique or how to improve the soil health on your property please contact the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council on 6963 8800 or email email@example.com
This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.