About Fern Hill
Fern Hill Compost started as the manure management system for Fern Hill Farm, a business that breeds Thoroughbred horses for the race track. The horse operation had generated a large accumulation of manure which, not being the primary focus of the farm, simply decomposed into the earth with no real attention being paid. In recent years we became more concerned with the environmental impact of uncontrolled decomposition on the ecosystem.
Based on consultation with the firm of O2Compost, the composting facility was constructed in the summer of 2009 adjacent to the farm’s horse barn. As we worked with the process of controlling the decomposition of stall cleanings, we have been able to maximize the benefits of this organic material conversion, while maintaining a very clean equine operation.
So while the primary purpose was to make manure management more intelligent and efficient, we were getting extraordinary results when we and others used the compost in our gardens, lawns, shrubbery, and house plants. We began bagging it and selling it through garden stores and by word of mouth. Frankly, the response has been fabulous!
The facility was designed with excess capacity. With that in mind, along with the recognition that we could help out other small horse-keeping operations who were still dumping raw manure, Fern Hill Compost began a container service with a limited number of clients in the area. This service allows for the cleaning of horse stalls directly into covered 1 cubic yard polyethylene bins, which are picked up weekly and returned cleaned and sanitized to the respective farms. The result is a reduced environmental impact for the horse-keeping operations- reduced smells, reduced fly populations, reduced leachate in waterways, reduced return of parasites and human pathogens to the farm. We are pleased that other horse owners were interested in this level of environmental responsibility, and that through this service, we can assist.
As compost feedstock goes, you can hardly find anything better than equine stall waste. The nutritional values of the resultant compost are higher than that made from most any other feedstock (typically twice the Nitrogen of Dairy manure), the carbon to nitrogen ratio is ideal, the porosity allows for effective aeration without additional bulking agents, and the moisture content is well within an easy range to compost. It is also important to recognize that the high quality and purity of Fern Hill Compost begins with horse owners who control the diet of their animals, and dispose of the stall waste forkful by forkful minimizing the opportunity for foreign materials such as plastics from getting into the process. High quality material in means high quality compost out.