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Composting for Fertilizer

It’s fall and most of the farm duties are done except for bringing the cows, steers, and heifers home for the winter. In the next few days we will also be spreading composted manure over the pastures before the ground freezes. We’ll then drag the fields to make sure we have an even cover. The manure was accumulated last winter in the feeding barn. We used warm season grasses as bedding which adds significant amounts of carbon to the other minerals naturally in the manure. Accumulating the manure in the feeding barn during winter keeps it off the frozen ground and thus out of the streams and the Chesapeake. It also allows us to control the distribution adding carbon and other nutrients where they are needed most. These nutrients nourish plant roots and essential subsurface microorganisms through the winter thereby fostering leaf growth in the spring and summer. Healthy (not over- grazed) pastures absorb huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.

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