LONDON, Ohio — Good manure management — practices that enrich the soil, keep water clean and save people money — is for more than cows, more than pigs, more than chickens, but for horses too.
So says Les Ober, who will speak on the topic at the Aug. 3-4 North American Manure Expo. The event is in London, about 25 miles west of Columbus.
“Over the years, more and more backyard horse owners have been stabling their animals in larger boarding stables,” said Ober, who’s an agriculture and natural resources program coordinator with Ohio State University Extension. “This concentrates a large number of animals on a small area of land.
“This can lead to water quality issues if the manure isn’t handled properly.”
Ober, who’s also a certified crop adviser, is based in northeast Ohio’s Geauga County. The county ranks second in the state for its number of equines — horses and their relatives — according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures.
A look at the options
In his talk at the expo, he’ll cover what to do — and why — with what horses leave behind. The options, he said, include having the manure hauled away, composting it, or spreading it on the owner’s or a neighbor’s land.
“The first two are expensive options,” Ober said. “The third one is viable only if they have enough acreage to spread it on and they’re willing to manage the manure properly.”
Good for water, soil
His talk, which is called “Manure and Nutrient Management for the Horse Owner,” is part of the expo’s Small Farm Manure Management track. It’s one of five talks set for that track, which goes from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3, and one of about 40 during the expo’s two days overall.
“Any time you manage manure correctly, it’s beneficial to the environment and water quality,” Ober said. “If horse owners store their manure in a storage facility, dispose of it properly and use all-weather turnouts in place of pasture during the off-pasture months, they’ll protect the soil and water on their farm.”
That jibes with the expo’s message, he said, which is putting manure to use, not wasting it, in soil-, farm- and water-friendly ways.
The event is at London’s Molly Caren Agricultural Center, 135 State Route 38. The center is part of The Ohio State University and specifically its College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. OSU Extension is the college’s outreach arm.
The expo will also have tours and a trade show. A complete schedule of activities is at manureexpo.org/expo-overview.html.
Admission to the event is free and open to the public, but preregistration is suggested. There’s a $20 fee for the tours, and preregistration is required to attend them. Online preregistration for both general admission (“Expo Pass”) and the tours is at go.osu.edu/2016ManureExpoReg.
For more information, go to manureexpo.org.