Composting characteristics of three bedding materials

A. M. Swinker, M. K. Tanner, D. E. Johnson, L. Benner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Horse manure management is becoming a major concern in suburban areas of the United States. An average horse can produce eight to ten tons of manure per year, accumulating at a rate of two cubic feet per day, including bedding. If properly composted, the manure and bedding can be transformed into a very useful, odorless, pathogen-free product. The objective of this trial was to compare the characteristics of recycled chopped phone book paper, sawdust and wheat straw bedding during composting. Six horses were stalled on three bedding types: recycled phone book paper, sawdust and straw. Each day manure and soiled bedding types were separately collected and transported to compost sites over an eight-day period. Three composting bins were each hand constructed from wooden pallets with 10 cm slats. The front of the bin was left open for manipulation of materials during the composting process. Initial volumes of the soiled bedding materials were 1m3, 1m3, and 1.5m3 for paper, sawdust and straw, respectively. Temperatures were taken for each bedding materials using a 51 cm REOTEMP compost thermometer. Temperatures were taken on Day 0 and every four days over the 65-day trial (n=52). Temperature was used to determine the need for moisture addition and aerating by turning to keep the piles microbially active. On Day 37 the C:N ratio was adjusted by the addition of ammonium sulfate, 0.1 kg, 0.1 kg and 0.14 kg for sawdust, phone book paper and straw piles, respectively. Mean standard error and range for compost temperatures (C) were: phone book paper, 33.17±10.33 (13-52); sawdust, 45.6±9.35 (27-58); straw, 30.42±6.57 (16-39). The sawdust composted more readily as compared to the phone book paper or straw. The paper and straw had poorer structure, which caused compaction of the material when moistened; thus, porosity, oxygen supply and microbial activity were reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-466
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Equine


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