If you are lucky, someone else does the stall and pasture cleaning at your barn. But if you are like many equine professionals, more often than not, you find yourself doing a lot of the dirty work.
Luckily, the agricultural equipment industry is well aware of the time-consuming and tedious tasks of stall cleaning and manure disposal. As a result, manufacturers have come up with ingenious ways to make these jobs time efficient and easier on your back, as well as those of your employees and co-workers.
Cleaning and fertilizing pastures can be a daunting job. Fortunately, the days of dragging a wheelbarrow out to the field are long gone. Either through dragging or by using a manure spreader, the job has become a lot easier.
Millcreek Manufacturing offers a number of manure spreader designs, including Model 27 for up to four horses and Model 97 for 20 horses or more. Model 27 can be towed or wheeled through doors as narrow as 4 feet wide by a garden tractor or ATV. The spreader uses a ground-drive mechanism. Available features and options include a poly floor, adjustable hitch, heavy-duty beaters, powder coated finish and other add-ons.
Model 97 is Millcreek’s most heavy-duty spreader. Available only as a PTO model, the spreader has a low profile and is designed for easy loading. The model accommodates large capacity loads because of its heavy gauge steel and reinforced axles. A hydraulic endgate, powered through the tractor’s hydraulics, is an option with this model. Standard features include a T-rod apron chain and swing-away jack stand; optional features include a thick-skin urethane lining for side walls.
Another agricultural machinery firm, Roda Manufacturing, offers both smaller, ground-driven spreaders and larger PTO systems. The R25 and R50 ground-driven models, in which forward motion provides the power needed for spreading, have capacities ranging from 15 to 30 cubic feet. Both have steel frame construction, beaters made with 3/16-inch steel, and a rot-resistant 3/8-inch polyethylene box.
The PTO models can be hitched to an ATV or other type of farm equipment. The R50 and R80 PTO?drives have similar construction to the ground-drive models, and an aggressive beater design. The largest R410, R610, and R810 models all have welded 2 x 4 inch heavy wall tubular steel frame ribs with 2 x 6 inch cross struts for superior box strength and rigidity; 1/8-inch polyethylene floor liner for smoother operation, less wear, less freezing of material on the floor, and easier cleaning; over-running PTO slip clutch protection; hydraulic apron worm gear drive with variable flow speed control; double web #667X pintle apron chain for smoother operation; and oversized beaters that exceed the box height, to handle large loads. Capacities range from 240 to 486 cubic feet.
For small pastures, Pequea Machine, Inc., has produced a compact spreader line. Suitable for small farms, the spreaders are designed to maneuver through tight spaces and to allow for in-stall loading, making cleaning them out easier and more efficient. Once loaded, the spreaders distribute manure in a wide and even pattern with eight steel beaters. The beaters are detachable for easy replacement if necessary. Separate controls operate the web and beaters. These compact spreaders come in four different models: 25 GD, 18 cu. ft. capacity; 50 GD, 36 cu. ft. capacity; 50 PTO, 36 cu. ft. capacity; and 80 PTO, 57 cu. ft. capacity.
For larger operations, Pequea offers the 125 PTO?and 175 PTO. The boxes are constructed of fully welded Cor-ten steel in 90 and 126 cubic foot capacities. The large PTO models include two-speed gearboxes, with a neutral and cleanout setting. Hydraulic end gates are an option.
A different style of manure spreader is being produced by The Stablers, Inc. Developed by a husband-and-wife team of horse owners, the Rotary Manure Spreader is very compact:?the smallest model is just 31 inches wide and 4 feet long; the largest is 56 inches wide and 5 feet long. The main goal is for muckers to shovel manure directly into the rotary barrel, then drag the spreader out to a field (this can be done with a golf cart or mower) and spread the contents immediately, without an intermediate stop at the manure pile. It’s simple enough for the average $8-an-hour stable hand to use.
The key feature is a rotating barrel that won’t stick or throw clumps, according to the manufacturer. The spreader utilizes the weight of the manure in the barrel to break up clumps, and spreads a fine, crumbled layer across pasture fields. The spreader does not have belts, chains or gears. It also spreads uneaten hay without jamming. Capacities for the three models in the line range from 11 to 36 cubic feet. All models are made of structural steel and angle iron with heavy-duty powder coating and oversized bearings.
If you are tired of the old fork and bucket approach, consider one of these devices designed to make stall cleaning fast and easy. Brockwood Farms is producing the Stall Shi*fter, an electronically operated manure and bedding sifter. The Shi*fter sifts and mixes bedding while removing manure and manure particles. According to the manufacturer, a 12 x 12 stall bedded with 3 inches of saw-chip bedding can be cleaned in less than six minutes with this product.
To use the cleaner, locate urine-soaked bedding and shovel it into the accompanying waste tub. Roll the sifter into the stall and park it over the spot where the wet bedding was removed. Place the waste tub at the rear of the sifting screen. Turn the sifter on and shovel the remaining contents of the stall onto the shaking screen. The reusable bedding sifts through to the floor while the manure moves down the screen, where it falls off the end into the waste tub. Roll the sifter out of the stall, respread the pile of clean recycled bedding and replenish with additional bedding as needed. The manufacturer claims this process can save up to 50 percent on bedding costs. The Shi*fter is designed to be used with fine shavings, peat moss, sawdust and wood-pellet bedding.
Pasture and stall cleaning is a fact of life for many equine professionals. But with a little help from these innovative products, cleaning up after horses can be a lot easier than you think.