How to Compost Hog Manure


As livestock operations, such as hog farms, grow in size, one of the major concerns both for sanitary purposes and environmental concerns is what to do with biosolid waste, such as hog manure. According to Ohio State University, controlling odors is a requirement for maintaining profitability and sustainability. One environmentally conscious way to eliminate odors, get rid of hog manure, and create fertilizer for improving crops is through the process of composting hog manure.

Step 1

Dig a trench that is at least three cubic feet, but no more than five cubic feet. You will build your compost pile in this trench. Three cubic feet is the minimum size for a biosolid waste compost pile so that the pile will heat to the correct temperature to eliminate germs in the hog manure. Five cubic feet is the maximum size that a single human being can comfortably manage. For larger amounts of hog manure, dig more than one five-foot trench to compost a lot of manure at one time.

Step 2

Arrange hog manure in layers along with wood chips or other carbon-filled organic ingredients. Examples of organic, carbon-filled ingredients include any brown and dead plant material, such as sawdust or dead leaves. Make sure that each layer of manure is half the thickness of each layer of carbon-filled ingredients.

Step 3

Water each layer as you build the pile so that the entire pile is as damp as a wrung-out sponge. The dampness of the pile will help it to decompose faster. Do not let the pile get too wet. This will cause bacteria that leads to odors to grow.

Step 4

Check the internal temperature of the middle of the pile daily with a thermometer that has a probe by inserting the probe into the center of the pile. The pile must heat to between 130 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill all the bacteria in the pile.

Step 5

Turn the pile by shifting the contents at the center of the pile outward whenever the temperature of the pile drops below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. As you turn the pile, it will heat again.

Step 6

Leave the contents of the compost in the pit for another four weeks after all the compost has decomposed to allow it to finish. Compost will be decomposed when there are no large chunks of organic material left in the pile, and the entire heap appears to be nothing but loamy organic soil. During the finishing process, microbes in the compost go dormant. Unfinished compost should not be placed directly on plants, because the microbes in the compost can hurt the plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Hog manure
  • Shovel
  • Saw dust
  • Wood chips
  • Dead leaves
  • Garden hose
  • Thermometer with probe


  • Iowa State University:Composting Swine Mortalities in Iowa
  • Extension: Making and Using Compost for Organic Farming
  • Washington State University Extension: Manure Compost Marketing Guide

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University Extension: Ohio Livestock Manure Management Guide
Keywords: uses for manure, hog manure uses, recycling hog manure

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."