Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Cow pats - to spread or not to spread?  (Read 1722 times)

gwynrew

  • Joined Sep 2017
Cow pats - to spread or not to spread?
« on: August 23, 2020, 10:18:53 pm »
What's best - leaving cow pats to break down where they dropped or spreading them out?

Some sites say that with healthy dung beetle populations, the pats disappear in a few days as the grubs feed. We have beetles, but the pats don't just disappear. Tyne's sheep book and Thrower's Dexter book both mention spreading cow pats to let the grass grow underneath and spread the goodness, but does this mean the dung beetles don't get a chance?

So, what's best?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Cow pats - to spread or not to spread?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2020, 10:35:02 pm »
One thing to question is what wormers and other meds (including pour ons and other fly deterrents) are you giving your livestock.  Sadly many of them will deactivate many of the dung-loving flora  :'(

I guess the short answer is that harrowing is never bad (well, when you have a decent sward, anyways, and maybe not if you have lots of flowering weeds in it with seed heads on them), so if you have harrows and time, why not.

As to the dung beetles not getting a chance, I think that all the dung-loving flora will still find the smaller lumps if you spread it out, won't they?  Just won't be able to lay so many eggs in one place, those that lay in it where it is.  (Don't dung beetles gather it up themselves?  But some of the other dung-loving flora lay eggs in it where it falls?)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Cow pats - to spread or not to spread?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2020, 11:29:05 am »
I never spread the pats and they break down fairly fast so aren't a problem. I do use pour on wormer on my cattle, but only about once a year. I also graze my pastures with other stock eg sheep and donkeys which are wormed differently, so probably the dung beatles live on in their droppings, unaffected.
Spreading the manure is not a bad idea as it harrows the grass as well. However, I would never do it with animal's on the field, or due to come on. How would you like your food spread with manure?  :yuck:
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Bramham Wiltshire Horns

  • Joined Oct 2014
  • leeds
  • Bramham flock Wiltshire Horns
Re: Cow pats - to spread or not to spread?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2020, 04:17:06 pm »
not sure on your system but i hear good things aout having chickens follow cattle/sheep a couple of days after spreading and eating any eggs in the dung

plus you get the added bonus of having nice fresh eggs
follow on FB@BramhamWiltshireHorns

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Cow pats - to spread or not to spread?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2020, 05:10:09 pm »
not sure on your system but i hear good things aout having chickens follow cattle/sheep a couple of days after spreading and eating any eggs in the dung

plus you get the added bonus of having nice fresh eggs
We have lots of rooks and other birds do the same job as chickens naturally without the hassle of keeping hen keeping.

Bramham Wiltshire Horns

  • Joined Oct 2014
  • leeds
  • Bramham flock Wiltshire Horns
Re: Cow pats - to spread or not to spread?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2020, 11:18:45 am »
each to their own  :thumbsup:
follow on FB@BramhamWiltshireHorns

 

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2021. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS