How To Operate a Manure Spreader

Manure in a wheelbarrow
  • 1-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-500
What You'll Need
Manure spreader
What You'll Need
Manure spreader

If you have horses, you most likely are familiar with a manure spreader. This easy-to-use manual machine delivers nutrients to your fields with little effort and saves money in hauling the manure away, or alternative methods like composting. Here’s how to use a manure spreader to help fertilize your field.

Step 1 - Determine a Plan

Depending on your needs, you will be spreading either straight manure, manure with a bedding such as sawdust, or a composted manure. For the best results you will not want to spread large quantities of hay or straw bedding. Based on how you currently store and gather your manure you will be able to determine a plan of what mix of manure and additional ingredients you will be spreading. Bring your manure spreader to the area in which you store this manure.

Step 2 - Fill the Spreader

cow's face

Use a shovel to fill the spreader with fresh manure and bedding straight from a stall or from an old manure pile on your property. It can be filled all the way to the top.

Step 3 - Attach the Spreader

Depending on your spreader model, it can be attached to many different things to pull it. For a smaller farm, a hand-pulled spreader makes a nice choice, while if you will be spreading a great deal of manure, you can typically attach a spreader to a golf cart, a four-wheeler or a small garden tractor. Inspect your model’s hitch or read the instruction manual to determine what types of vehicles you can attach it to and hook your spreader up to be towed.

Step 4 - Spread the Manure

Haul the manure to a field where you want to spread it. There is generally an engagement lever on the drum of the manure spreader you will have to engage to begin the process of spreading the manure. Pull the lever and begin spreading the manure at a depth of ¼ to ½-inch thick. Though the manure decomposes very quickly when broken up like this into small pieces, you will want to spread it on a field that is not being grazed on for several days to allow for decomposition. Generally, you will want to use one acre of land for the manure of two to three horses and then rotate to another field to allow for this manure to decompose before you respread manure there.

Step 5 - Clean Up & Storage

Red barn

When you are done spreading the manure, disengage the drum by pressing the engagement lever again. If there is any manure in it, empty it out and store the manure spreader out of the elements.

This is an easy way to dispose of your manure. It will help keep the flies along with their potential health threat to your horses away, as well as the strong odors that accumulate when storing large amounts of manure on your property.

The best benefit, however, is you will fertilize your field or pasture and condition the soil with rich organic matter. A manure spreader is a great way to decrease the workload on your horse farm and end the old method of back-breaking wheelbarrow and shovel manure spreading.