ROCKFORD — An abnormally dry summer has depleted pastures earlier than normal and forced horse and small-scale livestock owners to bring their animals into the barnyards. Animals in stables and feedlots, however, create a manure situation which must be addressed, so “the sooner you establish a manure management plan for the winter, the better,” said Jay Solomon, energy and environmental stewardship specialist at University of Illinois Extension. Ellen Phillips, local foods and small farms educator, will join Solomon to address manure-related issues at the upcoming workshop, Manure Management for Horse and Small-Scale Livestock Operations.
Manure starts out as a high-quality natural product that can help farmers offset some of their fertilizer costs, but proper storage, management and planning is key to maintaining optimum nutrient value and to reduce possible contamination issues.
“We’ve had a dry summer, but when the fall and winter moisture returns manure management becomes extremely important,” Solomon said. “How do we ensure manure stays in one place? What options are there to maximize the nutrient value of manure? How do we know when is the right time to apply it to our fields?”
These questions and more will be addressed.
Manure Management will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 15 at Lockwood Park Trailside Equestrian Centre, 5201 Safford Road, Rockford. There is a $10 cost to attend, and participants have the option to purchase the On-Farm Composting Handbook for an additional $25. Registration is required; visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw or call 815-986-4357 for more information.