When picking the right bedding for our equine partners, first and foremost, we all prioritize choosing the option that is best for their comfort and health. Then, of course, cost becomes a factor. But the question that is not always asked, “Is this bedding an environmentally friendly option?” For Shamma Murphy of Silver Oak Farm, that is not only a question that is always asked but the mission of her business.
SOS for your Soil Compost produced on-site at Silver Oak Farm in St. James, New York, is made up of horse bedding, hay, horse manure, and yard waste. Historically, their bedding of choice has been pine shavings. However, after discovering EnviroBed last fall, they have now implemented EnviroBed into their composting practices with initial signs of excellent results.
“The way that we see it is that [EnviroBed] breaks down faster than the wood shavings do. We have not been using it long enough to see the results from a completed bin, but are looking at the end of June/beginning of July for those results.” – Shamma Murphy.
Although new for Silver Oak Farm and their Aerated Static Pile compost system, Shamma has used EnviroBed at home in her chicken coop and has been happy with the results.
“I started using [EnviroBed] at home in about October, and first hand, I can speak from my experience of just putting it in a pile versus the Aerated Static Pile, more common to what you would see at a horse farm, that it broke down beautifully. It doesn’t smell, and it really is a nice texture.” – Shamma Murphy.
For compositing newbies, the use of compost around your property, specifically any location where you would place mulch, is not only aesthetically pleasing but also a great sustainable practice that benefits both your plants, the environment, and your water bill. Compost, containing three primary ingredients for your plants, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, offers an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers that also contributes to soil’s water retention capacity, productivity, and resiliency. Research has shown that even just a 1 percent increase in soil organic matter helps soil hold 20,000 gallons more water per acre.
For those interested in starting a compost of their own, Shamma offered up some tips and tricks to get started.
- Create a muck pile of EnviroBed, hay, and manure
- Turn the pile with a pitchfork or skid steer every two weeks
- Work to increase the temperature of the pile to 135 degrees
By following these steps, in 6-8 months, you will have produced a completed compost pile that you can use all around the property, free of weed seed.
Currently, in the United States, agricultural use of water attributes to nearly 80% of the country’s water consumption and, on a global scale, 69%. As water becomes more difficult to obtain and in line with the United Nations’ 2021 Water Development Report theme of ‘Valuing Water,’ it makes us very excited that EnviroBed can contribute to water conservation in such a positive way through our amazing clients. We look forward to learning more about Silver Oak Farm’s use of EnviroBed and hope we can encourage others to partake in composting at their facilities as well!