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“You can quickly turn a fly-infested, neighbor- maddening, ground and surface water polluting pile of waste that you would have to pay someone to remove into a profit-producing soil amendment t

hat your friends and neighbors covet.”

or less. However, hotter is not better with composting. Temperatures much over 160º F actually decreases the rate of composting by decreasing the number and diversity of the microbes in the pile. An aerated static pile does not burn and die. The pile

temperature can be controlled by adjusting the airflow into the pile so that it consistently exceeds 131º F for a minimum of three days to ensure pathogen destruction and produce a safe product without burning up the little critters doing the job to make compost.

O2 Compost bins

Have a look at this temptation. O2Compost developed a system to aerate a static pile

and maintain the correct temperature. The floors and walls of the compost bins are designed to allow enough air flow for ventilation. An electric blower, controlled by a timer, emits air into ventilation holes and pipes underneath the floor and into the manure pile, infusing every bit of the pile with oxygen. “Additional airflow into the pile causes the pile

temperature to drop by expelling (displacing) excess heat to the environment. By managing the frequency, duration, and volume of airflow into the pile we are able to optimize the composting process. With aeration, the increased number and diversity of microorganisms greatly expedites the composting process,” explains Peter. When that’s done the flies are no longer interested, the odor is pleasant and the result is humus, nutrient-rich soil amendment beneficial to plants and useful in the pastures. An additional benefit is that the compost may be sold to gardeners.

Greystone Vacuums USA (www. pasturevacuums.com) has brought an Australian innovation to the U.S.: the Maxi Vac pasture vacuum and the Paddock Vac. Powered by a Honda 4-stroke motor, these vacuums haul behind a golf cart, a riding lawnmower or an ATV to suck up manure and soiled bedding in pastures, paddocks and stalls. The smaller of the two, the Paddock Vac holds 3–4 wheelbarrow loads; the Maxi Vac can carry 5–6 wheelbarrow loads. Both are capable of picking up a variety of materials from manure to sawdust, dead leaves, and even rubbish from construction sites. Some owners have put them to work harvesting nuts and fruit. The driver points the 5” diameter nozzle attached to

a 10’6” hose while staying seated. To dump the collected debris, unclip the rear door and tilt it down to empty. Incidentally, the finished product is made in the U.S.A.

WORKOUT POSSIBILITIES

n ARENA FOOTING: One state of the art footing mixes

sand coated with a viscoelastic polymer with poly-fibers. This formula creates a dust free environment that does not need watering and won’t freeze. “For the horses it’s like good tennis shoes are for people. It’s cushioned, consistently throughout the arena. There are no hard surfaces,” says Tanya Vik, dressage trainer at Sutton Place Farm which recently installed the footing. “I have a horse that has always had delicate feet. After two months in this footing I don’t need to take special care of the hoof wall.” One manufacturer, Attwood Equestrian Surfaces in

Virginia, describes this type of footing on their website, “the surface allows forward rotation—or break-over—of

Warmbloods Today 37

n PASTURE CLEAN-UP: Are you willing to trade in your manure fork and wheelbarrow for an opportunity to sit down on the job? Do you claim to clean your paddocks and pasture for the exercise, but really would rather spend time enjoying your horses rather than cleaning up after them?

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