Make money with your horse manure

By April Reeves

There are so many ways to make additional incomes with equine facilities, I could write a book!

I use to make income from my horse facilities from sources other than the training and boarding. In fact, there was a time in Alberta where I made more ‘profit’ from the business of manure than the horses. Horses come with heavy expenses.

Recycling Manure for Money

I sold all my manure (and then some). How I started:

I created 3 large compost areas (I made them bigger each year). Check your local bylaws for info.

I put mostly manure, with very little shavings or wood fibre. Try to avoid hays. Keep another compost for hay and shavings for yourself.

I made sure they were always wet.

Each bin represented one months worth of manure.

Once a week I turned it with my tractor.

At the end of month 3 I bagged the manure and sold it to locals, local stores and nurseries and landscapers.

I sent out monthly notices to everyone reminding them that manure was almost ready for pickup. I did this in Alberta and BC before the internet was useful.

I made tags that went on every bag – ‘branding’.

I went to farmer’s markets and sold empty bags with the tags on them, so residents could pre-buy and then come out to the farm and we would load the bag up. Many residents never showed up, but they kept buying the empty bags.

Eventually I had built it up so that I just managed and maintained it.

I allowed other farms to dump manure in the compost areas.

I had a big business in Alberta, especially with landscapers.

I was asked occasionally to sterilize it, so I bought an old stove for cheap and baked it in the barn. Phew.

I think back then I was pulling in around $1000/month profit, in the early 80’s.

Hints:

Encourage people to put manure on their gardens in the fall for the winter, so you don’t have this mob rush in the spring.

Pricing is always an issue. I sold mine for the price in the stores, except for the sterilized dirt, which was slightly more. I recorded my time spent, and made around $24/hour. I moved fuel costs into the horse business. It took more accounting time to separate them than was worth the money saved.

Horse manure breaks down quickly, and at the end of 3 months you will have good ‘dirt’ and lots of ‘red wiggler’ worms. Today, Red wigglers sell for around $25/half pint. Yes, that was another business I had on the farms.

3 horses won’t give back the volume I was dealing with, but if your manure machines (horses) are small, you could package it and sell it by the road, or post a sign for the days the manure is available. Send your days of sale into the local papers and media. Send them some.

There are a million ways to make money on a small acreage with horses. I really should write a book. All it takes is time and effort, but you will build a client base eventually and not have to do the up-front work as much. Word gets around, especially with gardeners.

With computers and social networks available, anyone with a little knowledge can build a business fast.

Be good with customers, listen to what they want, and show up on time. You can do all the above, but if you don’t have good customer service, you will lose the business. Learn to really really love your customers, even the grumpy ones. Make it your mission to see them leave happy.

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3 responses to “Make money with your horse manure

  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  2. It’s a good idea. There are a alot of different ways to make money.

  3. Where did you get the bags to put your manure in? And put your brand on?

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