2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

50 pounds of manure a day? Not all agree

Published: January 17, 2014, 10:21 am, by Bill Radford

So how much poop DOES a horse produce?

In my column on manure management,  which appeared in Tuesday’s Gazette, I stated that the average horse provides about 50 pounds of manure daily.  That figure came from multiple sources, including an article on the CSU Extension website.  (Just Google  “manure” and “horses” and “50 pounds” and you’ll see.) Some online sources, though, hedge their bets with a  range of 35 or 45 to 50 pounds. And one source takes pains to point out, as I assumed, that that is fresh, wet manure. Once it gets a chance to dry out, it’s lighter.

Some readers think the 50-pound figure is a bunch of you-know-what.

Gary Reifschneider, who describes himself as “an old Sandhill cowboy from Nebraska,” said in an email that the figure “is dead wrong. You owe your readers an apology to save face.”

“The average horse produces far less than 50 pounds a day,” Terry Galbreath of Cahan wrote, also via email. “We raise Clydesdales, which are generally about twice the weight
of a “normal’ horse, and they produce about 32 pounds a day.”

I, of course, had to know: How did he know that his horses produce about 32 pounds a day? Does he set the poo out on a scale? So I emailed him back: Where did he get that figure?

His answer: “From a Trivial Pursuit type game for ‘horsey people’ – that and a couple estimations from the ‘remains of the day’ when mucking Clyde stalls, after questioning the accuracy of the game question.”