Q: Every day I collect all the droppings from my paddocks and put them on a tidy muckheap. I start a new heap every six months. Could you tell me how long I should leave each heap to decompose before I can use it as a fertiliser on the paddocks without spreading worms?

Instructor Juliet Grayson BHSI (SM) replies To be safe, the manure should be composted for 12 months in the typical UK climate.

This allows for the temperature in the manure heap to build up to the point that kills eggs and larvae.

For this reason it is important the manure heap is well built and densely packed together. Spreading manure before the eggs have been killed compounds the problem of worms, as the larvae get spread around the field.

It is generally agreed that the most effective method for managing parasites is to collect the droppings twice a week, and compost them, while maintaining a good worming programme for the horses.