October 20, 2012 in Washington Voices

Workshop gets down, dirty on mud, manure

Pat Munts
 

Manure storage structures can help keep manure out of paddocks and pastures, reducing the formation of mud during the winter.
(Full-size photo)

If you have farm animals, mud is a way of life come spring thaw. The kind of mud that makes doing chores difficult, gets tracked into the barn, the house and probably your car or truck. Your animals can have a hard time getting to dry feed and clean water. It doesn’t have to be that way though.

The Spokane Conservation District is launching two programs to help horse and livestock owners reduce mud and runoff, manage manure, improve pastures and overall animal health and make winter chores more efficient.

As part of the new livestock and land program, the district will offer a four-week Saddle Up for Winter workshop series. Workshops in the Little Spokane River watershed will be at the Riverside Fire Station 46 in Chattaroy on Tuesday evenings Oct. 23 through Nov. 13. Workshops in the Hangman Creek watershed will be Thursday evenings at Zion Lutheran Church in Fairfield, Oct. 25 through Nov. 15. Both workshops will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. On Nov. 17, there will be a daylong tour of mud, runoff and manure management projects completed last summer by the district and cooperating landowners. Cost for the workshops and the tour is $40 per person or family.

The workshops will cover such topics as how mud forms, building dry heavy-use areas, managing run off from buildings and pastures, dust and odor control, off-stream watering systems, composting manure, fencing, conservation improvements to protect your land from erosion and improve pastures, and creating an efficient winter chore system.

The district is also launching a manure spreader rental program to help horse and livestock owners spread manure on their pastures. Spreading manure on pastures helps fertilize the grass while getting the manure away from paddocks and buildings where it can mix with runoff to create mud.

The district has purchased a Mill Creek 37+ Manure Spreader and is making it available to horse and livestock owners within its service area. The ground-driven spreader holds roughly 37 cubic feet of manure and can be towed by an ATV, a tractor with more than 18 horsepower or a pickup at less than 5 mph. Use of the spreader requires a manure and nutrient consultation and recent soil test on the land where the spreader will be used. The soil test helps determine the best way to apply the manure and to calibrate the spreader. The spreader will rent for $35 a day; renters must pick up and return the spreader to the district. The consultation and the soil test can be done through the district. Soil tests cost $30 per sample.

Registration for the workshops and reservations for the spreader are required. For more information, visit www.sccd.org or call (509) 535-7274.

Pat Munts has gardened in the Spokane Valley for more than 35 years. She can be reached at pat@inlandnwgardening.com.

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