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Horse manure warning (serious)

(19 Posts)
Donk Mon 21-Jul-08 22:23:13

This weeks Horse and Hound has some worrying news (unless I am hopelessly behind the times and you know this already)
An increasingly popular hormonal herbicide used on cereal crops and grass to kill broad leaved weeds is very persistent and will pass straight though horses coming out in their dung unaffected if they have eaten hay which was sprayed (or if the straw they are stabled on was sprayed). The resultant manure, even when composted, can damage or kill vegetable crops - especially (but not limited to) tomatoes, beans, onions, lettuce, potatoes. The company which produce it specifically warn that vegetables damaged by exposure should not be eaten!

Never have I been gladder that my disorganisation this year has meant that I didn't go and get horse manure for the veg bed....

policywonk Mon 21-Jul-08 22:27:32

I've read the same thing somewhere. How are you supposed to know whether your manure source is OK though? It's a bit worrying.

(And sorry, but LOL at 'This weeks Horse and Hound'... that's not something you read very often on here grin)

BoysAreLikeDogs Mon 21-Jul-08 22:28:32

YY was on GQ last week on R4

Donk Mon 21-Jul-08 22:32:19

Reputable composting companies are beginning to ask riding stable owners whether or not their straw/hay was sprayed - and if so, refusing to take their manure.
Your average small yard/private owner is not going to know if their manure is safe....(speaking as an ex stable person)

(I seem to remember a thread ages ago asking what magazines people were reading - and my 'New Scientist' and 'Horse and Hound' definitely caused some amusement)

SalVolatile Mon 21-Jul-08 22:39:21


Could I ask you very nicely to link to the article in H&H please? Thanks. Am v worried as garden is two foot deep in horseshit from neighbours....

Donk Mon 21-Jul-08 22:42:58

Umm - its a paper copy!
I'll look on-line (slight pause)

policywonk Mon 21-Jul-08 22:45:03

I know some friends who have had a very bad year on their allotment so far (and the weather's been alright down here, so it's not that). They are beginning to think this might be the explanation.

SalVolatile Mon 21-Jul-08 23:02:24

thanks donk

TheDuchessOfNorksBride Mon 21-Jul-08 23:14:47

Did the article happen to list any feed/hay merchants that did or didn't use Forefront weedkiller?

Or do I have to phone all the companies I buy feed from before knowing whether to use the manure?

And what the hell am I going to do if the several tons of horseshit on the manure heap is contaminated? <oh bollocks>

And thanks for highlighting this.

essjayo Tue 22-Jul-08 10:51:06

There's been quite a lot of discussion on one of the gardening forums on moneysavingexpert about this - apparently it's possible that all sorts of commercially available compost are also affected.... sounds like there's no alternative to your own compost bin!

lulu25 Tue 22-Jul-08 20:25:18

there's a petition here if anyone is interested

getting worried about my tomatoes, but that's a whole other thread...

Donk Tue 22-Jul-08 20:29:32

NorksBride, The article did not give details of any feed merchants that had weedkiller free forage.
Even quite big feed companies may not know whether or not their feed was sprayed when growing - as this problem was not highlighted when they were buying it in from farmers. No solution but asking them I think!

Doodle2U Tue 22-Jul-08 20:31:51

Some dogs eat horse manure (I know - grim innit?) and these chemicals can kill the dog apparently sad

pedilia Tue 22-Jul-08 20:34:56

I am thinking exactly the same as you Duchess!

Donk Tue 22-Jul-08 20:42:50

Have to admit I am glad that I am no longer assistant yard manager on a big yard wondering what the hell we are going to do with a huge pile of contaminated manure.....

pedilia Tue 22-Jul-08 21:09:53

I hope my friendly farmer neigbour who takes all mine doesn't read H&H, with 4 horses I have rather a lot of manureshock

Pixel Tue 22-Jul-08 22:51:40

I saw the Horse and Hound article too but only after we'd had this in our local paper. We've been using manure from our horses on our allotment and it's been fine but I suppose that could change at any time if we have to use a different hay supplier.

Amphibimum Tue 22-Jul-08 23:01:34

oh bugger. ive used shit loads (pah! see what i did there??wink) of manure from the next door livery yard which gets dumped at the bottom of our field to rot down and then be spread over the fields. i know the woman who runs the yard well, but whether or not she knows the source of all the hay used in the yard for the last year or two... seems pretty doubtful!
the veggies seem to be doing alright... and we've eaten quite avfew... <worries> <and calls neighbour>

Pixel Sun 10-Aug-08 23:44:47

Just seen an update to this in Horse and Hound if anyone is interested.

'The weedkiller Forefront, blamed for ruining organic gardeners' crops after contaminating horse manure, has been taken off the market.
A spokesman for Dow AgroSciences, the US firm that makes Forefront, said "It has been temporarily suspended from supply, sale and use while investigations take place". The suspension applies to other aminopyralid products Banish, Runway, Synero Pharaoh and Upfront'

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