Sunday, September 02, 2007

Bye Bye Fly

Anyone with live stock knows the most annoying problem on the farm is the fly. As soon as the temperatures rise into the 60s horses and cows get covered. Most kind horse owners will put fly masks on their horses to keep the flies out of the horses’ eyes. Newer masks even cover the horses’ nose and ears.

A lot of money is spent on fly control products, be it fly sprays, feed through fly repellent, and insects they prey on flies. We’ve been through all of that and they seem to work marginally.

What seems to be working really well for us this year is a manure composter. The photo above is a three bin composter where I deposit the manure every day. I also put lawn clippings, garden weeds and kitchen scraps in there. As the matter decomposes it heats up and destroys any fly eggs and larva. It is covered so moisture is controllable and the compost doesn’t turn into soup that leaches into the stream. Best of all it doesn’t smell.

I used to pick a spot and then I’d dump manure there it never decomposed properly and the mounds just got bigger and bigger. I’ve been using this composter since May and I have yet to fill two bins. One will get high and I’ll use the next bin giving the first bin time to cook down. After two weeks the pile has gone down enough to accept another two weeks worth of manure and clippings.

The best part is that we virtually have no flies. We can saddle up the horses and go down the road past other farms that have live stock and the flies from those farms will swarm us until we get far enough away from their manure piles.

Another benefit is that next spring we will have a couple cubic yards of garden compost. It is win-win all the way around.


Blogger Mom of Three said...

So much about natural methods of pest control is win-win. I think it's because it's all about balance. By composting in this way, you're not throwing any other factor out of balance, like chemical pesticides do. In agriculture, another good example is avoiding monocultures. The work done in Weaverville, CA is an excellent example.

Way to go!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Guy, it's always nice to find a livestock owner who does things the way we did when I was a kid. All the 'progress' tends at times to solve a non-existant problem. My aunt loved the horse compost and bull compost as it gave her the best roses around:)

1:20 PM  
Blogger Auntie said...

I think that I got to dump one of the maiden loads of your horse's poop into that end stall. Wow, look at it now. That's alot of poop!

4:36 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Mo3, I'm sure SH can build you one for dog compost.

Mike, I'll probably be able to share with the neighbors next year. My green house isn't all that large, and our outdoor gardens are minimal since we got the horses.

Auntie, if you ever miss the feeling you are welcome to come by at 6:30am or pm and I'll be happy to let you get your fill of that sort of joy again.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Auntie said...

You know I am just sick enough to take you up on that. Love the smell of the horse stuff.....

9:30 AM  
Blogger ally said...

Just found your blog this am and I'm enjoying it. I lived in Astoria for 18 years, relocated to Maine a few years ago. I remember the compost pile as a child ( forgetting to do the bucket from the kitchen and doing the long long walk in the dark, listening for bears and other "critters" in eastern Or. was a scary thing for me!). My dad had the best gardens ever because of that pile, I just never knew it back then!

5:29 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Thanks for dropping by, Ally. Mike S is from your neck of the woods. Hope to see you here again.

8:17 AM  

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