When livestock manure is left to decompose for months at a time, this process is called manure composting. Manure compost is a vital part of any organic gardening procedure, since manure has many different nutritional benefits. Before any livestock manure can be used to fertilize a garden, it must first be properly composted.
Large piles of manure can be turned into compost by covering a pile with a waterproof sheet or tarp. Organic manure compost can be left to erode for up to three months. Once this process is complete, the manure compost can be added to any garden or plot of land.
While seemingly odd, livestock manure is prized across the world for its high nutrient content. Anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of plant nutrients that are fed to animals are excreted. Thus, most types of livestock manure are filled with nutrients that cannot be gained in any other fashion. This is precisely why farmers prefer manure compost to any other kind of compost on the market, though not all livestock manure is the same.
While manure compost is a great way to fertilize any garden, there are some types of manure that should not be used to fertilize a garden. Generally, manure that is gathered from carnivorous animals is not ideal, as it often contains a number of different parasites. When used as a form of compost, these parasites can be transferred to humans. Thus, choosing manure from animals that only eat a plant-based diet is wise.
Manure gathered from horses, sheep, cows, poultry, and rabbits can be used as a source of manure compost. Generally, poultry manure has more nutrients than any other kind of livestock manure. Manure that comes from steers is not optimal, since this type usually contains seeds and stems. However, dairy cow manure is a prime composting source, since dairy cows often feed solely upon grass.
People who do not have large farms filled with livestock can still take advantage of manure compost. Many different companies sell manure compost that can be purchased at any garden center. Alternately, local farmers may sell it to individuals, though it is important to adhere to the proper types of manure listed above.