Ever wonder where all that…er…”poo”…goes? No? Well, clearly you’ve never spent much time in a barn. Moving poo from pile to pile is like 90% of what we do everyday. We compost all the ‘paca and horse droppings, along with our yard waste, old hay and moldy hay. We move two wagons full of organic material to the compost pile every single day.
We have two compost piles, the old one and the new one. We stopped adding to the old one last fall, to give it a chance to compost. Turning poo to compost is actually fairly easy. Microbes (bacteria and fungi) do all the hard work. We turn it over using the tractor once, since the moist and warm inside of the pile is the best environment for composting. By spring, we no longer have poo at all, just a REALLY big pile of yard-enhancing fertilizer. Dad calls it “Alpaca Gold”, since it still has a slight gold tinge from the sawdust.
Well, with piles this big, you end up with rather more fertilizer than yard. Sometimes our friends want some, which might make a dent in it. But most of it has to be loaded by a hand into our teeny-tiny manure spreader.
It’s like a wagon version of those hand crank fertilizer things people use in their yards. As you drive around, it spreads the compost behind you. Dad applies it to our pastures in thin, even layers. This year, the fam busted their behinds to get it out on the fields before the last snow, so the melt water would help the nutrients seep into the soil.
And the answer to your question is: no, it doesn’t smell. It’s full of earth worms and nutrients, and bears very little resemblance to poo, although you might get the occasional road apple (horse poo…not a variety of apple tree that grows in manure piles).