Friday, March 19, 2010

More compost material

There was no one at the sale barn to load material yesterday – the guy was doing his taxes. He was scheduled to be there this morning, though. So, I set off at 8:00am with my truck and trailer to haul in more good stuff.

When I arrived at the sale barn, Pat, the guy who has the contract to haul off the manure and bedding, was there. He had just finished loading his tandem axle dump truck (a 1967 Mack) and was about to leave. This was good timing. He’d already hauled one or two loads but was more than willing to haul loads for me. I told him that I would take all he could haul. I rode with him on the first load to show him where to dump it. When we got back to the sale barn, my truck and trailer were loaded.

I hauled three loads this morning, and Pat hauled five all together. I had an appointment this afternoon to look at a loader tractor that I’d seen advertised on Craigslist (I ended up buying the tractor – I’ll have more info and photos about that later after I have it hauled home). So, I only hauled manure in the morning.

Using the trailer I am able to haul between 4 and 5 tons at a time. On the first two loads, unloading the trailer went very well with no problems. I let the guy load the trailer too heavily on the third load, making it more difficult to unload it.

The trailer being loaded at the sale barn.

Getting ready to unload the trailer. The method I use involves the use of some chains and some 2x6 boards. I used lag screws to attach several 2x6s cut just less than the width of my trailer to two logging chains. There are approximately three inch gaps between the boards. These slats on chains are then laid on the trailer floor, and the material is loaded on top.

When I’m ready to unload, I connect two more chains to the chains with the 2x6s at the front of the trailer and pull with the tractor. This rolls the material off of the trailer. I connect the ends of the chains with the 2x6s to the back of the trailer in order to make sure they don’t just pull out from under the material when it gets near the back of the trailer.

On the third load, my tractor couldn’t roll the load off of the trailer; it was too heavy. So, I had to shovel some of it off first.

Another picture of me shoveling to lighten the load so that the tractor could pull it off. A larger tractor (which I just bought) wouldn’t have had much problem.

And, finally, the load of manure and bedding rolls off of the trailer.

After pulling the material off, there is a little that has fallen through the slats which needs to be scooped off. This only takes a couple of minutes. In all my fussing with this load to roll off the trailer, the chains on the back came unhooked and left a bit of material on the end of the trailer. This didn’t take too long to shovel off, though. Ideally, there is very little to be scooped off.

The last thing to do is to pull the false floor back onto the trailer so it’s ready for the next load.

Here is the pile after hauling three loads today. There was already about four tons there from when I was perfecting my trailer unloading method. So, this pile is made of about 16 to 18 tons of sale barn cleanings.

Here are the piles from five dump truck loads (with younguns playing on them).

I was able to make the trip to the sale barn, get loaded, drive back, and dump it all off in less than an hour. That means I was able to haul more than twice as much per trip adding less than 15 minutes to the round trip. Not bad, I think.


Ann W

Oh, I can't wait until we have our own property and can do things like that! Growing up, in the country, we used to haul compost and manure for our huge garden, then plant and garden all summer. I loved it most of the time, even as a kid. Plant and Garden Blog


I am, maybe I should say brown with envy. That's quite a mountain of manure you've got there! I scrounge all I can around here and what I get from my own animals. People just don't know what it's worth--they just want it gone. I will be calling my county livestock market too...


Ann W, although I grew up with big gardens, I don't really remember putting compost or manure on them. I've been impressed recently with the need to focus a lot of my efforts on soil fertility.

Journey11, it is sad how the majority of the people view it as a waste product. The sale barn is glad to have me haul it away because they pay Pat to haul it (I'm free). I'm not opposed to paying Pat to haul it for me because it frees up some of my time and increases the amount. Do check with your local livestock market and see if you can find out who they pay -- he/she may be willing to haul it to you.

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