Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District offers some thoughts on manure pile management.

If you have livestock or horses, then you have manure to deal with.

You may have a mountain of manure that grows daily. So, is it a problem, or is it a benefit? The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District would like to offer some help with that decision-making process.

COURTESY PHOTO: PIERCE CONSERVATION DISTRICT - While a tarp can work over a manure pile, the CSWCD suggests a three-side manure storage facility if possible.

In Canby or Molalla, if large piles of manure are exposed to the rain, it can be a problem. Water will soak through the pile and carry nutrients and bacteria away and into nearby streams or ditches such as the Molalla River and its tributaries. It can also soak into the ground and may pollute groundwater. You will also lose valuable nutrients that your pasture may need.

A simple solution is a tarp. Cover your manure pile with a heavy tarp and good weights to hold it down against a strong wind.

"You will keep the beneficial nutrients, and you will not be polluting streams or groundwater," said Lisa Kilders, education and outreach program manager for the CSWCD.

However, she points out that tarps are temporary. What about a permanent solution? Consider a manure storage shed — a simple three-sided shed with a roof to keep the rain out. A shed is easier to manage than a tarp when doing daily chores.

What is composting?

Composting is controlling the breakdown of natural waste, such as plants, food, or manure. When you compost manure, it reaches a temperature that kills weed seed and bacteria. It also improves the smell. What is produced is nutrient-rich compost that can be spread on a pasture or used in fields or gardens to improve soil health due to composting manure. This is the benefit.

Is composted manure better than "aged" manure? Yes, said Kilders.

"Manure that has been sitting around for long time without composting is still smelly," he said. "It can also have weed seed that will still grow and bacteria that can be harmful."

Manure management

For more information about manure management, including composting, contact the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District. They have conservation planners who can help find ways to reduce your mountain of manure, make chores easier, and improve pasture.

Contact the CSWCD at 503-210-6000 or send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you want to view videos on pasture management, manure management or heavy use areas, go to

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