The King Conservation District maintains a list of livestock owners who provide surplus manure for free to people seeking compost and mulch.
The King Conservation District Manure Match Program is a simple, free way to recycle valuable nutrients and organic matter. Here's some general information on how the program works.
1) Determine Your Needs
What quality and mix of material do you need? How much do you need?
2) Arrange for a Truck
Make arrangements for a vehicle to pick up the manure (a pick-up truck works great).
3) Select a Source
Review this table of sources to find material that meets your needs and is conveniently located.
4) Schedule the Pickup
Contact the farm that you have selected and arrange a time.
5) Compost at Your Site
See the links at the bottom of this page for information about composting.
6) Use as a Soil Amendment
Once composted, apply as needed in your garden or landscape as a soil amendment.
1. How much manure do you need?
Calculate volume needed ( depth x area). Convert to Cubic Yards (27 cubic feet in one cubic yard). Plan for the number of truck loads required for target volume. Note: most pickups can only handle ¾-1 yard at a time. If you are getting a lot of material, chose a farm with a Loader or plan to spend a lot of time with your shovel loading your truck.
2. Will you need to pick up the manure during the winter?
Some of the farms have manure piles that are not accessible during the winter (Check “Accessible” column on the source list).
3. Are you looking for “Aged” or “Fresh” material?
Older material may be closer to “finished compost” than newer material. See the “Age” column. If you want old material, be sure to tell the farmer. Often the oldest material is at the back of the pile and the material at the front of the pile is from yesterday. Let the farmer know what you want; s/he may be able to load the older material for you. It is worth asking on the phone.
4. What is your end use?
If mulch for landscaping, a manure pile with mostly bedding is a good choice. However, for composting for your garden, a material with little or no bedding is better (check the “manure:bedding” column). Know that some beddings will compost faster (straw breaks down quicker and cedar shavings take a very long time). As a general rule, a manure to bedding ratio of 1:1 or higher (1:0, 20:1, 3:1, etc.) is more desirable for composting.
5. Control weeds!
Weeds can be a real problem with some compost piles. Contrary to popular belief, horses don’t “poop” out significantly more weeds than cows. Weeds present in manure piles are generated primary from seeds of weed plants growing near the manure pile. Keep the pile covered with a tarp to prevent weed seed invasion and to compost the pile. The heat and time involved in composting will kill most weed seeds. Because we can’t vouch for the weed seed content of these manure piles, we highly encourage you to cover and compost this material for a month or two before applying it to your garden.
We welcome livestock owners with surplus manure to share to be added to our list. To add yourself to our Manure Match Listings, please visit the Manure Match Form to submit your information.
For landowners wishing to share their manure or compost more quickly, you may consider contacting the folks that have listed themselves on our “Manure Wanted” table below:
The King Conservation District has a two-yard compost spreader available for loan to landowners in our service area. Use of the spreader requires a manure and nutrient management consultation and recent soil test results. The spreader is available from April 1 to September 31. Reservations are required and landowners will be placed on a waiting list. To learn more about the Manure Spreader click HERE.