In this video you’ll learn why and how to clean cow manure in a pen or a pasture. Because as the saying goes – if you’ve got cattle, you’ve got manure. And that manure is something you’ve got to clean out, pile up, let dry, and spread as fertilizer.
At this cow/calf operation in southeast Kansas, they consistently maintain about 200 head of cattle. Sometimes, those cattle are held in pens. Sometimes, they’re on pasture. Both are places where manure will build up around feeding areas, creating a potential breeding ground for flies, and raising the risk for diseases in cattle.
So let’s tackle the cattle pens first. We’ll be using a John Deere 3038E Compact Utility Tractor (US CA) with a 300E Loader (US CA), a 61-inch Materials Bucket (155 cm), and a Frontier LP1060L Land Plane (US CA).
The key to this process is to be careful not to scrape too deep.
The base of a cattle pen like this is made up of 3 layers:
- A top layer of manure
- A middle layer of soil and manure combination
- And a bottom layer of compacted soil
The idea is for Digger Dan to scrape off just the top layer of manure. This will promote faster drying of the remaining material and protect the base layers from being damaged.
When you clean up manure, it’s also important to drag it away from the under the fence. Manure left under fences can act as a dam, trapping water, and creating a breeding ground for flies.
A compact tractor and materials bucket make a great package for scraping manure away from the edges of the pen and then scooping it up and dumping in a composting pile.
That manure is about 90% water. As the water evaporates, the manure dries out, and the pile shrinks. When it’s dry enough, the property owner will spread it on his pasture areas as fertilizer with a manure spreader.
Okay. Let’s move out to the pasture where the same manure build-up problem happens around feeding areas.
Cattle are fed from these bunks made from old tractor tires that were placed in a pasture. Now there’s an awful lot of manure in about a 25-30 yard (23 – 27.4 m) radius from the feeding site that has to be piled, composted and removed or it will smother the pasture’s ability to grow vegetation.
For this job, we’ll use a John Deere 5100R Utility Tractor with a 540R Loader, a 73-inch (185.4 cm) Material Bucket, and 95-pound (43 kg) wheel weights on each rear wheel. We’ve also added a Frontier RB2308 Rear Blade (US CA) with end plates.
The same sort of technique for cleaning up manure in the pens applies here as well. Dan will focus on scraping off a top layer all over this manure-covered area, and pile it all together.
After about 45 minutes, this manure pile has grown to about 12-feet wide by 25-feet long by 8-feet high (3.7m x 7.6m x 2.4m). And once it’s dried out, that giant pile of manure will go a long, looong way toward covering a pasture in what we like to call “nutrient gold.”
Then another one will spring up in its place somewhere else. And as they say, the beat goes on.
Frontier has nearly 600 implements that are available only from your John Deere dealer, the place to go for advice and equipment.
So remember, for implements that help turn your tractor into the workhorse it was built to be, think Frontier and your John Deere dealer.
And lastly, always read the Operator’s Manual before operating any piece of equipment and follow all operating and safety instructions.
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John Deere Tractors (US CA)
John Deere Loaders (US CA)