Scared of Cow Manure?

Discussion in 'Organic Gardening' started by nickmccann, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. nickmccann

    nickmccann Member

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    So I decided to start a organic garden and apparently you need cow manure? So i bought a few bags of Compost Cow Manure and Peat Moss. I'm a bit of a germaphobe(I'm working on becoming better) So I'm a little paranoid about handling cow manure, should I wear gloves and not worry?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    You don't need any particular organic amendment to start a vegetable plot. You could even just buy some soil said to be suitable for the purpose, dump that on the ground, shape it into beds or berms and plant.

    Try the web site of your state Cooperative Extension Service for additional assistance.
     
  3. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    wear gloves and don't worry!!! you could even go bare-handed and not be worried...

    the bagged stuff has been aged/processed so there really isn't anything to be concerned about!! (fresh manure would be a different story)
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    With animal manures specifically one thing to be aware of is tetanus.
     
  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Yes agree with Ron re at least fresh manures. However having said that I spent my youth and young adult life with out shoes most of the time, amongst all sorts of animals and their doo. Being exposed to some bacteria is good for the body. Bit like inocculation. Just make sure you wash your hands well after use even if you do wear gloves. Enjoy the experience of creating a wonderful healthy soil for your crop.

    Liz
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The production units can be dangerous though - someone killed by one last week in Britain.
     
  7. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Prions have been consistently discovered in animal wastes and disposed of carcases.
    I was surprised to learn that it is common practice to dispose of dead livestock by composting them along with other farm bio wastes.
     
  8. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Although the chance of contracting a disease resulting from a prion infection from animal manure would not be great, all known prion diseases affect the structure of the brain or other neural tissue, and all are currently untreatable and are always fatal. Millet (1,293-)
     
  9. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I'm not certain about that Millet but will take your word on it.

    I was concerned with seeing animal carcasses tossed in composting trommels however.
    It would be comforting if somebody did a study on how well the systems break down proteins and fats. The bones come right through virtually unscathed. ???

    Bob
     
  10. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Bob, you can verify that all prion diseases are always fatal, just by posting the word "prion" in Wickipedia and read it for yourself, or click on the link provided below. Regards.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prion

    Millet (1,293-) Susan B. Anthony List - Washington DC
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sorry, I don't think it is reasonable to state that all prion diseases are always fatal. With some, the incubation period is so long that normal old age kills before the prion does, in which case the prion isn't the cause of death, and is therefore not fatal.

    Far from the first time there have been errors on wikipedia ;-)
     
  12. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I think I will believe in Wikipedia on this one. Anyway, with food that I am going to put in my mouth, I'm certainly not going to pour some animal's excrement all over it. So either way I don't have to worry about whether prions are all fatal or if some are not quickly fatal. .

    Millet (1,298-) Susan B Anthony - Washington DC
     
  13. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    We seem to have slipped gears here .
    I thought we were discussing the potential for prion contamination from cattle manure and or remains?

    Did I miss something.? - Not a first for me. <g>

    Bob
     
  14. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    This is getting a bit off topic, but I find the prions interesting. I guess it is true that if something else gets you first the prion disease is not the cause of death, but they apparently are generally considered to be fatal (although extremely rare.)

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/prions/

    http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hcai-iamss/cjd-mcj/cjd-eng.php

    The big question is, can they actually be transmitted via mulch? I doubt we can answer that. Any prion researchers out there?

    Not sure I can allow myself to be too scared of getting prions from my fertilizer use, when I still eat hamburgers.
     
  15. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    So, Eric , do you cook your fertilizer?
    Besides prions havent been located in Soy beans which keep me pretty safe where I eat.

    VBG.

    Bob
     
  16. mywan

    mywan Active Member

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    Not really plant related but something I know a little about.

    No need to be afraid. By cell count your body is over 90% microbes, many of which you can't live without. Between 5 and 10 thousand different species of bacteria live in the human body, much of it to your benefit. By weight you are made of about 3% to 5% bacteria. Your best protection from harmful microbes is healthy colonies of good or neutral microbes. If you go your whole life without exposure to harmful microbes then you are far more vulnerable when exposed. People who grow up in cities tend to suffer from allergies far more than people raised in the country. This seems to be because the lack of exposure induces the bodies immune response to overreact to irritants it is not acclimated to. The workings of the immune system is very interesting itself. You never get exactly the same kind of cold twice in your life. Maintain decent hygiene and quit worrying about incidental exposures. These incidental exposures are good for your long term health. Overprotecting yourself can be deadly.

    Cured of peanut allergies (biggest food allergy killer):
    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=7088457&page=1

    Interesting note: Bacteria speak two different (chemical) languages. One to communicate with their own species, and one to speak with other species of bacteria.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071210094701.htm
     
  17. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I fully agree Mywan.
    The problem for me is that fine line between "host" beneficial bacteria and pathogenic bacteria etc from a transmitable source.

    Were it not for this we would not have a 1/10th the budget for health care.

    There is something to be said for acquired immunity from the environment and while we are here there's the transference of immunity from lactating mothers to their offspring.
    That is on the decrease just as the food allergies seem to be increasing.

    Lots for questions still not fully understood.


    Bob
     
  18. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

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    I love cow manure. But no manure is required for organic gardening. You can do fine with composted plant materials.
     
  19. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    If you are just satrting out with organic gardening where do you get the composted plant material?
    This has always fascinated me as it is repeated so often.
    I'm also curious with the oft quoted statement that a soil test is not necessary?
    Anyone want to hazard an explanation?

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  20. mikeyinfla

    mikeyinfla Active Member

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    any plant material can be composted newspaper and cardboard also. i have always been told donot use the shinny color newspaper add pages or the carboard with the pictures and stuff on it try to use just plane cardboard. topsoil adds organic mater and they sell composted manure and plane compost in bags i have used the topsoil but it sometimes has allot of weed seeds in it. the bagged cow manure is composted so there should not be anything harmfull in it. to be honest the manures i have heard that are better than cow manure is horse and rabbit. when fresh they donot burn the plants as easily and you usually get less weeds seeds. basically if you are just starting out getting organic mater into the soil is the first priority fertilizer comes later. you could use fish emulsion for you're fertilizer keep in mind you are not limited to just cow manure. also getting a soil test will never hurt anything it will let you know if you need to add sulfur or other acidifier to lower ph or lime for a not sure what the word would be alkalinizer ? to raise the ph. i am not strictly organic so there may be better alternatives to adjusting to soil ph if it is way off where it is supposed to be for the crops or plants you plan on planting. if i was just starting out i would make raised beds put allot of good topsoil in it i know bagged has sometimes allot of seeds in it but i have not had much of any problem from using the top soil i get at one of the landscape wholesale places. it took me a long long time to get enough organic mater into my sandy florida soil by composting and than spreading that out i know more now but the trees are already planted so kinda late now for raised beds. good luck forgot to add if you feel the need to wear gloves than there is nothing wrong with that
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  21. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

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    Right now you can get all the free leaves you could ever want. You just have to be a little odd, and ask people if you can have them. I live in the country and around me are rich people who hire crews to take care of their yards. I ask the yard crews to dump their leaves at my place. Thus far this fall I've received 11 tons of leaves and horse manure. If you live in the city, ask your neighbors for thier leaves bagged and set out on the curb. And don't worry about compost piles and turning and tending. Just spread a thick layer over your garden area (12-18" deep) and let mother nature do the work. By next July you can sink a shovel into that compost lasagna, and it will be teeming with life. Notice also how the ground underneath will have become crumbly and alive. And notice how the leaves block any weeds from germinating. In this way you can start a new garden over a piece of lawn without ever turning a shovel full of dirt. Find the book "Gaia's Garden" at your library for winter reading. Best Regards.
     
  22. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    I wholly support GreenE., and do something similar. By the way, I've gone barefoot as often as possible most of my life, and very rarely catch colds/flus, etc. This despite working in hospitals, where you get exposed to everything! Plus, if you have ever gardened barehanded, the odds are you have been exposed to composted cow manure anyway.
     
  23. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Make sure your tetanus booster was given within the last ten years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  24. Beekeeper

    Beekeeper Active Member

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    Green Elephant.
    What sort of leaves? The leaves around here [Oak, Cherry & Maple.] take two or three years to break down. I use them but I bury them about a foot under where they eventually make a great addition to the soil. When I have too much I fill black plastic bags with them and let them decay for future use. [ it always amazes me how the worms get in the sealed bags] As far as cow manure is concerned, I shovelled it every day from the time I was ten, emptying the trough behind our milk cows. We couldnt afford gloves. It seems to me though that if one were to be truely "organic" then one wouldnt use manure of any kind other than vegtable. Animal manure [ and I use it ] contains both hormones and anti-biotics. Hormones in steers for growth and in dairy cows for milk volume. How much of it survives composting I would like to know.
     
  25. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

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    Beekeeper,

    I think certified organic growers do not use imported manure for the reasons you listed. Manure per se is just fine and dandy. If they have a herd of grass fed beef on the farm, that manure is wonderful. Like you I grew up on a dairy farm and schlopped around in the stuff.

    One farm practice the memory of which I relish, was the spreading of ground limestone on the gangway. The limestone provided traction for the slick floor. The gang was scraped at least twice a day, and the limestone went into the gutter. Thus every morning when the manure spreader went out it spread two tons of limed manure onto the field. Over and over again for 150 years, you can imagine how sweet and rich that made the soil!

    Now dairy farms have these monstrous manure ponds or tanks for the disgusting liquid manure slurry. Blech.

    As for leaves. I lay them down wherever I want to supress weeds, make new gardens, mulch plants. Oak has tanin (acid) in it it and the leaves break down slowly, but eventually even they will turn to leaf mold and humus. A little dolomitic limestone can offset their acidity. Cherry and Maple are excellent and break down fast.

    I too am bemused by worms finding their way to the food source. Turned over a birdbath yesterday and there--5 feet above the ground--were worms under the saucer. And following the worms, moles next summer will be churning through the compost. All these are doing the work for me.
     

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