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Composting

A well-maintained compost system is capable of rendering P. equorum eggs non-viable within 8 days.

Evidence suggests that parasites commonly affecting the horse are becoming resistant to many of the deworming products currently available. Consequently, new research has focused on identifying alternative methods of control. A recent study, by researchers at the University of Kentucky, evaluated the use of windrow composting as a means of reducing the viability of Parascari equorum (large roundworm or ascarid) eggs.

Feces were collected from foals confirmed to be shedding P. equorum eggs, and manure samples were placed in filter bags and buried in the center of a newly prepared compost windrow. Filter bags were removed after 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 18 days of composting and viability of the P. equorum eggs was determined.

Continual temperature monitoring showed windrows maintained a minimum average temperature of 50°C between days 1 and 3, and the highest average maximum temperature was recorded on day 5 (57° C). The average viability of the eggs was significantly reduced after 2, 4, or 6 days in the compost windrow. The viability dropped to 0% after 8 days of composting.

Researchers concluded a well-maintained compost system is capable of rendering P. equorum eggs non-viable within 8 days, when eggs are located within the interior of the windrow.

Summarized by: Jennifer Earing, PhD, previously with the Univ. of Minn.

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