EQUINE BEDDING MATERIALS EFFECT ON PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF COMPOSTED STALL WASTE 1,Williams, 2 3 4 5 6 Komar*, S.J. C. , Westendorf, M. , Miskewitz, R. Mickel, R.C. ,Bamka, W.J. 1Extension Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Sussex County, Newton, New Jersey 07860, 2. Extension Specialist, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, 3.Extension Specialist, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, 4.Assistant Research Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, 5 Extension Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Hunterdon County, Flemington, New Jersey 08822, 6 Extension Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Burlington County, Westampton, New Jersey 08060 ABSTRACT RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONIn recent years new bedding materials have been marketed to the All materials reached maximum temperatures during the first weeks of composting. Among materials, only the pelletized straw maintainedequine industry. Limited research has been conducted to evaluate temperatures above 55°C . This is in compliance with USEPA guidelines forhow composting impacts the physical and chemical properties of microbial decline of at least 15 days at 55°C. Temperatures were below thisthese materials. In 2010, a study was conducted to evaluate the threshold for the remainder of the experiment (Figure 1) reachingeffects that bedding materials have on the physical and chemical temperatures near ambient by the conclusion of the trial. Composting resultedproperties of composted equine stall waste. Two bedding materials in significant mass reductions for both bedding materials with numericalwere evaluated including a pelletized straw product and wood differences observed between the straw and wood materials ( Figure 2.). PhysicalWood Pelletized Straw appearance of bedding materials after 100 days of composting. Organic carbon was reduced during composting for both materials suggestingshavings. Differences were observed in final mass, organic matter, Shavings that composting occurred for both treatments (Figure 3.). Differences wereparticle size distribution and several chemical parameters. observed in available P with concentrations increasing for both materialsComposting resulted in significant reductions in final C:N ratio for all MATERIALS AND METHODS (Figure 4.). No differences were observed in K concentration followingbedding materials with the greatest reductions occurring in the A study was conducted at the Rutgers Equine Science Center in New composting (Figure 5.). TKN was greater in the pelletized straw materialstraw-based material. Bedding materials appear to influence the Brunswick, New Jersey to evaluate the chemical and physical characteristics following composting (Table 1.). Differences were observed in nitrate-N of two common equine stall bedding materials following an aeratedphysical and chemical properties of composted equine stall waste following composting with the greatest increase occurring in the pelletized composting process. The bedding materials included a pelletized wheatand can have dramatic impacts on the potential of using composted straw. Particle size was reduced for both materials following composting straw product and pine wood shavings. Compost piles were constructed onequine stall waste as a soil amendment. suggesting that organic C was degraded during composting (Table 2.) May 12, 2010. Four replications of each of the bedding materials were constructed and placed in a randomized complete block design for statistical 55 analysis. Digital thermocouples were used to monitor the temperature in the 50 center of each pile during composting. Physical and chemical properties of Pile Temperature (degrees C) 45 the compost were evaluated using conventional laboratory procedures at the 40 beginning (day 1) and end of the composting process (day 100). Data were 35 subjected to analysis of variance and means separated using Fisher’s LSD 30 (P=.05). 25 _____ Wood Shavings 20 Dry Mass Organic Carbon 400 100 80 Figure 1. Temperature (°C) during 2010 composting cycle. 300 % Mass (Kg)Stall waste is often spread on pasture or hay land Manure management will continue to be an important 60making composting a potential solution for disposal. consideration for equine operations in New Jersey 200 40 Effect of Composting on Nitrogen 100 Initial Final 20 Initial Final Nitrate Ammonium TKN 0 0 Nitrogen Nitrogen Treatment % Pelletized Straw Wood Shavings Pelletized Straw Wood Shavings ppm ppm INTRODUCTION Figure 2. Dry matter mass (Kg). Any column with an * is Figure 3. Percent organic Carbon. Any column with an * is Initial Final Initial Final Initial FinalA typical 455 kg (1,000 pound) horse produces 0.023 m3 (0.82 ft3) of manure significantly different according to Fischer’s LSD (P=.05) significantly different according to Fischer’s LSD (P=.05) Pelletized 1.76 2.34 a 9.45 321.94 a 6.07 3.45 Strawper day weighing more than 22.7 kg (50 pounds). In addition to manure, Wood Shavings 1.3 1.39 b 9.5 7.67b 6.09 6.01equine stall waste includes various bedding materials such as straw or wood Available P Available Kshavings. The amount of bedding added varies based on individual Table 1. Bedding materials effect on various forms of nitrogen. Any twomanagement, but has been found to range from 2.7 kg per day for wood 150 100 means in a column with a different letter are different according to Ficher’s LSD (P=.05)shavings to more than 3 kg per day for straw (Komar, 2009). Disposal of this 80 PPM PPM 100waste material can be an issue, particularly on small farms with limited 60available acres for spreading manure. Recently, composting of this waste 50 40 Initial Final Initial Finalmaterial has been suggested as a potential handling technique for small 20 CONCLUSIONSequine operations. Much of the research comparing bedding materials’ 0 Pelletized Straw Wood Shavings 0 Pelletized Straw Wood Shavings As the equine industry continues to expand in New Jersey, manureimpact on compost quality has been conducted using beef and dairy waste. Figure 4. Available Phosphorus (PPM). Any column with an * Figure 5. Available Potassium (PPM). Any column with an management will continue to be an important component of a well-managed * is significantly different according to Fischer’s LSDLimited research has been conducted to evaluate the impact that bedding is significantly different according to Fischer’s LSD (P=.05) (P=.05) equine operation. Farms with limited acres will need to maximize thematerials have on the chemical and physical characteristics of composted effectiveness of their manure applications to ensure maximum crop yieldequine stall waste. Particle Size Distribution while minimizing the potential for environmental impact. Composting horse >1/4” stall waste appears to be a promising manure management strategy by > 1” >1/2” >1/4” Treatment reducing manure volume while providing crop nutrients. Bedding type Initial Final Initial Final Initial Final Initial Final appears to impact volume, as well as, the physical and chemical Pelletized Straw 25 22 26 24 25 26 24 28 characteristics of composted equine stall waste. More research is needed to Wood quantify the effectiveness of alternative bedding materials and to determine Shavings 26 22 27 28 25 20 24 26 their acceptance by the equine consumer. Table 2. Percentage of material particle size before and after composting. Any two means in a column with a different letter are different according to Ficher’s LSD (P=.05)
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