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Legislation about storing of manure in Sweden

The purpose of the provision regarding manure storing is that the manure should be stored in an environmentally friendly way during the times of year when the manure should not be spread. The rules just apply for farmers. But in practice and based on the precautionary principles in the legislation (the Environmental Code) the regulatory authority can state requirements for horse entrepreneur.

Storage facility

  • The manure storage facility should be so spacious that the manure can be stored during the time of the year when it is not appropriate to spread the manure.
  • The storage area should be designed so that no nutrients or infections are likely to   contaminate drinking water supplies or streams.
  • The storage location should be chosen so that neighbors are not likely to be disturbed by the odor and flies.


Storage capacity  

In the calculation of the storage capacity, it is advisable to use the Swedish standard values (Table 1), however the conditions on the individual farm needs to be taken into consideration. The type of horses and their feed, time on pasture, the amount of litter, waste water, rainfall etc. may significantly affect the amount of produced manure. The basic rule is that the storage capacity should be sufficient to store the manure during the times of year when spreading of manure is inappropriate or prohibited. There are also statutory minimum requirements that vary depending on where in the country the operation is situated and the number of horses.

Table 1. Standard values and requirements for storage capacity of horse manure (Source: The Swedish Board of Agriculture)


Requirements for storage capacity of horse manure

 1 month

6 month

8 month

Storage capacity m3 per horse







Storage area m2 per horse at 1,5 m storage heigth








The demands on storage capacity vary depending on the type of animal, the herd size and where in the country the operation is situated which is shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Requirements regarding storage capacity for horse manure according to the Ordinance on environmental consideration in agriculture (SFS 1998:915)

Number of horses

Sensitive areas in Skåne, Halland, Blekinge, Gotland and Öland, and sensitive coastal areas



Other sensitive areas



Areas outside the sensitive areas

More than 100 horses

8 month

8 month

8 month

11-100 horses

8 month

6 month

6 month

3-10 horses

6 month

6 month

No general requirements

1-2 horses

No general requirements

No general requirements

No general requirements


Requirements for storage capacity exist for operations in sensitive areas with more than two horses. Outside the sensitive area, the requirements only apply for operations with more than 10 horses. For horse operations not officially defined as agricultural businesses the storage capacity should be at least so sufficient that the manure can be stored for periods, when weather conditions are unfavorable and when spreading of manure is prohibited or inappropriate. Manure storage inside the stable such as in a litter paillasse may be included in the storage area. Interim storage outdoors directly on the ground may not be included. 


The design and location of the manure storage facilities

In general, the storage facilities for manure at agricultural businesses with horses should be designed so that runoff or leaching into the environment does not occur. The recommendation for horse operations not defined as agricultural businesses is that the storage facilities should be designed in an acceptable manner. According to the general guidelines the location of the manure storage facility should be selected so that:

  • Possible leakage poses as little negative impact on the environment as possible   
  • Disturbance and other disadvantages to human health such as odor and flies for neighbors are avoided.


Temporary storage and composting on arable land

Temporary storage on arable land is not detail-regulated but should be based on the precautionary principles stated in the Environmental Code. Horse manure normally contains much litter providing high amount of dry matter and high carbon / nitrogen ratio. Temporary storage of manure in a heap placed in an appropriate manner on arable land seldom causes any greater risk of nutrient leaching. Generally, temporary storage of manure on arable land should be close to the time of spreading and limited to a few weeks. Yet, horse manure can often lie for a longer time without constituting an increasing risk for leaching. Horse manure may also have to be composted before spreading and this can be done directly on arable land.


When composting is done directly on arable land:

  • Place the compost on arable land in use and in the field where the manure is later to be spread. With recurring storage occurs in the same field the compost should be moved within the field and placed on the same site within 5 years.
  • Supply of manure to the same compost should take place during a limited time period meaning that the manure is not put on the heap on a daily/weekly basis.
  • Supply of manure is done without soil damage.
  • The soil type should be such that there is a rapid flow through the soil profile.
  • Composting is promoted by the size and design of the manure heap adjusted so that the lack of oxygen is avoided.
  • The manure is spread as soon as a convenient opportunity occurs after the composting process is finished.
  • A crop is sown on the site as soon as possible after the manure is removed.



The composting site should be selected so that:

  • Leakage due to leaching or runoff from the manure at thaw or heavy rain is avoided and surface water or drinking water supply is not likely to be contaminated
  • The risk of flooding, accumulation of water or high groundwater during the time of composting is avoided.
  • The compost is not added directly above drainage lines or on an infiltration area for drinking water supply.
  • Nuisance to local residents such as odor and flies does not occur. 

In most cases, placing a manure heap in the field does not require reporting to the municipality.



Obligation to documentwhen receiving orremovingmanure  

Agricultural businesses that receive or remove manure are required to keep records of who has delivered / received the manure, the amount, date, the phosphorus content alternatively species and the number of animals from which the manure comes. The records must be kept at least for 6 years. The obligation to record the amount of manure that has been removed from the farm only applies for agricultural businesses with more than 10 animal units.


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