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How to Dispose of Cow Manure

By Regan Hennessy

Disposing of cow manure might not top your list of fun things to do, but it's certainly something you'll need to do if you have a cow. The average cow produces approximately 148 pounds of manure each day. Even if you have just one cow, the manure can certainly pile up. You can dispose of cow manure in several different ways, depending upon how much of your own time and effort you want to put into the disposal process.

Collect the cow manure. Using a manure fork or shovel, scoop your cow's manure into a wheelbarrow and dump it into a pile in a convenient but private location for disposal. Many people consider cow manure to have an offensive smell, so be sure the location is far enough away from your house but within your property lines. Complete this process daily in order to make your collecting job easier.

Give cow manure to local gardeners for fertilizer. Get in touch with neighbors or friends who have gardens and let them know that you have some cow manure you need to dispose of. Most of them will jump at the chance to have a regular supply of nutrient-rich cow manure for their garden plants. The low nutrient values of cow manure allow gardeners to use it extensively on their plants without damaging them. Deliver the cow manure to the gardeners for a fee or just arrange for them to pick it up themselves.

Exchange cow manure for other items or services you need. Some livestock producers exchange manure for important goods such as hay or grain, or services such as hoof trimming. Make sure you have a written contract that spells out all the details of your barter agreement to minimize possible problems or misunderstandings with the manure exchange.

Use the cow manure as a source of nitrogen in your own compost pile. The benefit of this manure disposal method is that you're able to enrich your own soil with the nutrients in the manure. Mix the manure into your compost pile of carbon-rich materials such as straw, dead leaves and sawdust, and sources of nitrogen, such as vegetable peels, spoiled fruit and lawn clippings.

Keep the pile moist and turn it regularly with your manure fork, allowing the compost to decompose for approximately six months before using it on your plants.


Things You Will Need

  • Cow manure
  • Manure fork or shovel
  • Wheelbarrow

About the Author


Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. She has produced content for various websites and graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.