Horse enthusiasts and small farms looking to purchase a manure spreader often run across the question of “what size works best?” For a simple answer, consider the following:
• How many horses / stalls do you have?
• How much of the day are they in their stalls?
• How often do you have time to spread manure?
• How far away is the area where you will be spreading manure?
For reference, an average 1,000 lb. horse that spends most of its time in a stall will produce about 50 lbs. of manure per day. This equals out to about 2 cubic feet of manure per horse per day. This gives you a good benchmark for the size spreader you need. If your horses are in the stall for only half the day, you can estimate about 1 cu. ft. of manure per horse per day. With this in mind, 10 horses in their stalls for half the day would require a 58 cu. ft. spreader to be emptied once every 5 days. Taking into account the distance between stalls and the field or pasture where you’re spreading the manure, you could probably go with a smaller, 20 cu. ft. spreader and spread every 2 or 3 days.
With 20 stalls, you would more than likely want to go with at least a 58 cu. ft. spreader. With all 20 horses in their stalls for ¾ of the day, and each horse generating around 2 cu. ft. of manure per day, you would need a spreader large enough to pick 40 cu. ft. of manure, covering all 20 stalls. A 58 cu. ft. spreader would work well for 20 stalls because it would hold a full day of manure when the stalls are at full capacity, or 2 or 3 days when the stalls are at a lower capacity. If your stalls are full on a daily basis, and the field or pasture is far away, you would probably want to go with an 85 cu. ft. unit to lessen trips to the field or pasture for spreading.
To find out more about the choices available to you, view Conestoga’s options or call 1-855-822-1976 to discuss your specific situation.
Consider these things first: Are you ready to buy a new compact manure spreader? Make sure you do your home work before you buy the first model you see. A quality manure spreader should last for many years. It should also be “right sized” to your application meaning that it suits your needs and is easy for you to use. Before you make a purchasing decision, be sure to consider the following:
What is the warranty being offered? A quality manure spreader is manufactured for daily use and therefore should carry a warranty that stands up to regular usage as well as outdoor conditions. Most small manure spreaders carry a 10 year warranty on the spreader sides and a 3 year full warranty on some smaller models and lifetime guarantees on polyvinyl flooring and stainless apron chains. You should look for models with warranties at this level, at a minimum.
Other than the warranty, what guarantees are being offered? Be wary of the word guaranteed. But that doesn’t mean that some manufacturers, like Conestoga Manure Spreaders, don’t offer high-quality standard product enhancements that aren’t available elsewhere. For example, we are the only US manufacturer to offer stainless steel T-rod chains as a standard feature on all Conestoga manure spreaders except for the E-25. This boosts the longevity of your product.
How easy is it to use the manure spreader? Your manure spreader should not only be durable and sturdy, it should also be easy for you to hook up to an ATV or garden tractor (or trailer depending on your model size). Remember, a manure spreader replaces manual labor so it needs to be easy for you to use on a regular basis.
Do I need all the options available? Great question. Don’t assume you need all options. Work with your dealer to help identify your specific needs and discuss your preferences and concerns. Some options are actually standard when you get into larger sized models (such as such as a jack and an adjustable hitch). The fine spread pan, top beater and end gate are key options to consider as they relate to ease of use and distribution.
Can I get a maintenance free manure spreader? No. There is no such thing as a maintenance free manure spreader and you should not consider purchasing a manure spreader that is promoted as being one. The fact is no manure spreader is maintenance free. Every piece of farm or horse equipment needs regular maintenance and greasing to last, especially manure spreaders. Without regular maintenance or greasing, you can expect spreaders to last 2 or 3 years at the very longest. If you have questions about maintenance, read our article about Manure Spreader Maintenance. Choosing the right manure spreader is a decision that should take some time. Ask your dealer questions and read online reviews. Good luck!
Yes! COR-TEN® steel, the brand used on Conestoga Manure Spreaders, is weathering steel developed specifically to help steel increase resistance to atmospheric corrosion.
Conestoga Manure Spreaders use COR-TEN® Steel to extend the life span of each unit. COR-TEN® Steel resists the corrosive effects of rain, snow, ice, fog and other weather conditions and reduces costly issues related to rust. COR-TEN creates a protective coating (a form of rust) that slows the rate of future corrosion.
By purchasing a manure spreader that includes COR-TEN, particularly on the main body, your spreader will last longer and hold up to the elements better than one that does not. Every Conestoga Manure Spreader model is made of COR-TEN except for the E-25.
For many horse enthusiasts and small farms purchase one, maybe two, manure spreaders in a lifetime. Purchasing a compact manure spreader is an investment and you expect yours to last. That means it needs to stand up to the elements, be easy to maintain (but not maintenance free!) and easy to use. But if you’re planning on purchasing a high-quality manure spreader that you expect to last for 10 years or more you may also want to consider options that can enhance productivity and save time. If you’re considering adding options to your compact manure spreader, consider the following:
- How easy is it for the manufacturer to custom-build my manure spreader? (For U.S. manufacturers like Conestoga, customization with existing options is easy.)
- What options are available? (Most manufacturers offer similar options. View Conestoga’s options and please note that stainless steel T-rod chains are standard not optional!)
- What are the extra costs? (This depends on the cost of your unit and options. Call to 1-855-822-1976 discuss.)
- Does adding options change the serviceability of my unit? (No!)
- What types of options will improve productivity? (A good example is a top beater that prevents downtime.)
- What other options should I consider? (End gates prevent material losses and an adjustable wheel jack adds flexibility. There are other options to consider and sometimes calling to discuss your needs and usage help us narrow it down for you!)
It’s possible to purchase an off-the-shelf model but options can save time and reduce manual labor. Think through your needs and application to consider whether or not adding options are right for you!
Are you looking for the right manure spreader for your specific needs?
Conestoga Manure Spreaders can help you decide. We can also help answer a question that many first-time buyers ask: What exactly is a PTO manure spreader?
Literally speaking, PTO stands for “Power Take Off.” The PTO is a shaft on the rear end of a tractor that transfers power from the tractor to another piece of equipment such as a manure spreader. So, a PTO spreader is one that is operated by the power from a tractor or ATV.
Compare this to a ground-drive spreader that uses the movement of the wheel against the ground to generate the power that distributes the manure.
Typically you’ll find a PTO spreader is a larger-sized or heavy-duty spreader. A PTO spreader is great for large horse farms, farm-ettes, and small farms. With a PTO spreader, you’ll likely have larger capacity than with a ground drive spreader. And, you get greater control over spreading speed and distribution.
If you’re considering which spreader is right for your application, you’ll also need to consider size (how much you need the spreader to hold). This can be determined in part by the size of your operation (how much will you have to spread at one time) and the frequency with which you’ll need to spread manure (Daily? Weekly? Monthly?).
One thing many PTO spreader owners will tell you is that they can be difficult to hook up to a tractor or ATV. A Conestoga spreader is easy to attach and can be done quickly.
A PTO spreader can help you reduce time associated with manure spreading by as much as 50%. How easy it is to use is part of this equation. Before you purchase a PTO spreader, ask questions about how easy it is to hook up, how easy it is to operate and how easy it is to clean.
Speaking of cleaning…check back next month for our article about manure spreader maintenance.
Thanks for reading!