July 22, 2018
Everyone has heard the joke about manure spreaders: “It’s the only product the manufacturer will not stand behind.” But good manure management is no joke, and a quality manure spreader can be an important tool in good manure management. Not only will a manure spreader help to keep your barn and shelters free of manure, flies and odors, it will help keep your pastures in good shape, saving you money in the long run.
In suburban horse keeping, spreading manure or hauling it off daily may be the only legal ways to dispose of it. For those horse owners who may be concerned that spreading manure on pastures may expose your horses to parasites, rest assured. Fly larva eggs do not survive when exposed to hot summer sun (it takes about 90 days to “sterilize” a pasture), and winter pasture rotation, combined with fecal egg counts in a de-worming program, have proven to be the best methods of parasite control.
If you regularly fertilize your pastures and hay fields with chemical fertilizers, spreading your manure, or composted manure, can reduce the need and expense of frequent chemical fertilizer applications. Have your soil tested at least once a year and only use as much fertilizer as is recommended. This will also help keep the algae growth out of your ponds and lakes. Excess nitrogen run off from pastures can cause algae and water plants to grow to the extent that they use up oxygen in the water and cause fish kills.
There are two basic designs for manure spreaders: ground driven and PTO (Power Take Off) driven. Ground driven spreaders are limited in size, but can be pulled by any vehicle with enough power to operate it, such as an ATV, riding lawn mower, tractor, even a horse or mule. They can be small enough to be maneuvered by hand in a barn, but usually do not exceed 50 bushels capacity.
When spreading, the manure is moved along the bed by chains attached to gears on the wheels. Paddles on the beater mechanism at the rear of the machine pick up the manure and sling it behind the spreader in a fine powder. This broken up organic fertilizer decomposes much quicker than it would if spread by hand. With few exceptions (Pequea brand) the ratio of paddle speed and ground speed cannot be adjusted on ground driven spreaders.
PTO driven spreaders have the advantage of an independent power source and, thus, can handle more capacity and can be more reliable, especially in muddy and hilly, uneven terrain. The operator has more control, preventing jamming, and making it easier to slow down in the field, concentrating the distribution where needed. The PTO machine can even be operated from a standstill.
If you have hay or straw bedding in your manure, this material has a tendency to wrap around the tines on the ground driven machines, but less so with the PTO driven machines. The tines are usually paddle type or rooster comb type. The latter gets its name from the shape of the steel tines with serrations, resembling a rooster comb. This type costs more to manufacture, but does a superior job spreading the product.
Below is a list of manure spreaders brands available:
Pequea Machine, Inc. (Tennessee Farmer’s Co-Op is a dealer)
200 Jalyn Drive, P.O. Box 399, New Holland, PA 17557
Phone: 717-354-4343; Website: http://www.pequea.com/
1867 Kirkwood Pike, Kirkwood PA 17536
Phone: 855-822-1976; Website: http://conestogamanurespreaders.com/
Absolute Innovations, Inc. (ABI)
1320 Third St., Osceola, IN 46561
Phone: 877-788-7253; Website: http://www.abiequine.com/
John Deereand Frontier (sold at John Deer Dealers)
One John Deere Place, Moline, Illinois 61265
Mill Creek Manufacturing Inc.
525 Reservoir Road, Honey Brook, PA 19344
Phone: 1-800-311-1323; Website: http://www.millcreekspreaders.com
P.O. Box 104, 333 Salem Ave.
Fredericktown, OH 43019
800-335-1880; Website: www.countrymanufacturing.com
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