The farming business case for composting

Farm Manager & Vet Robyn talks about the farming business case for composting

Farm Manager & Vet Robyn talks about the farming business case for composting

In the area around Robyn’s dairy farm in south east Queensland compost was rarely used in commercial agriculture, especially in dairy and feed lots with high manure surpluses.   In this video Robyn talks about the challenges and lessons she has learnt about using manure surplus, to increase soil quality and fertility in a sustainable way. She believes that compost is the most effective way of improving soil long term with clearly beneficial effects on soil quality, stock health and farm profitability.

Robyn also addresses standard modern Australian agricultural practices such as the heavy use of mineral additives and chemical fertilisers, frequent soil tillage, fast crop rotations, and huge shifts in land and how this has greatly decreased soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks, leading to bio diversity loss, faster soil erosion, and pollution of groundwater and air.

Robyn is a vocal advocate of the importance of composting is an  tool having witnessed first hand how healthy soil creates healthy plants, which creates healthy plants, stock and humans. The benefits of compost are clear including: improving drainage and nutrient availability in clay soils, improving water and nutrient holding capacity of sandy soils, helping neutralise pH of both acidic and alkaline soils and lastly that many toxins are broken down in the composting process, while others such as heavy metals in city soils become locked up and less available to plants when compost is added.

This is the story of the real journey of compost discovery, the effects and benefits and watching the farm and it’s live stock and the herds milk and health change over the years. Seeing with her own eye that the cattle preferred to graze in the paddocks that had been treated with compost and would walk past other grass to do so.

 

Dairy-Herd

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions about composting

Farmer talks about composting with the JPH Equipment CT360 Windrow Turner

Ged a dairy farmer from Tamborine in Queensland answers questions about composting and the JPH Equipment CT360 Windrow Turner,

This is a great video where Ged talks about how he got into composting, the lessons he has learnt and why he would recommend that you compost.

Other questions covered include

  • How hard is composting to do?
  • How would you start composting?
  • What resources do I need to begin composting ?
  • What space do I need to compost?
  • What tools & machinery do I need?
  • Do I need a turner to start?
  • Talking about the CT360 compost turner
  • What is the CT360 compost turner like to use
  • Have you owned any other turners?
  • CT360 Watering, Gearbox and Construction
  • What type of Tractor do I need
  • Do you recommend using a watering unit
  • How long does it take to make compost
  • How often do I need to work on the windrow?
  • Can you store the compost?
  • What effect does the composting have on your farm
  • How do I use/apply the compost
  • How long will it take to work
  • How much does it cost to do
  • Is composting really worth it Time, Effort and Cost? fertilisers are easier aren’t they
  • Can you sell the compost?
  • Sum up how the composting journey has been for you

As you most likely know Compost is a natural soil improver made from broken-down organic matter, and it contains three things of vital importance to farmers. Humus, that’s the dark spongy material that makes good soil the colour of chocolate, Recycled plant nutrients and most importantly billions of microscopic lifeforms which create a healthy soil ecosystem (Read more about the soil food web).

Healthy soil creates healthy plants, which creates healthy humans. And to this end, composting is an important tool. Some of the benefits of compost include: improving drainage and nutrient availability in clay soils. Improveing water and nutrient holding capacity of sandy soils, helping neutralise pH of both acidic and alkaline soils and lstly many toxins are broken down in the composting process, while others such as heavy metals in city soils become locked up and less available to plants when compost is added.

 

Adam Willson from Soil Systems Australia, talks about the decline in Australian soil health

The decline in Australian soil health

Adam Willson from Soil Systems Australia, talks about the decline in Australian soil health

The building of soil carbon in Australian farmland should be regarded as a an national priority because it the bast way of sequestering atmospheric carbon, soil carbon also holds significant amounts of water, reduces erosion across catchments, increases biodiversity, increases nutrient use efficiency and is a key to increasing yields and food quality. With Australian climate already experiencing temperature extremes impacting vast areas across the continent the need for implementing soil carbon building practices is urgent. To begin this process both the Australian government, the organic industry and conventional counterparts need to immediately start baselining organic carbon in soils. Carbonlink is one Australian company that is developing a soil carbon monitoring process and can measure deeper soil carbon down to 1m – Carbonlink (2015). This data is critical for establishing the effectiveness at which farming practices build soil carbon, biodiversity and resilience across the farming landscape.

All across the world there has been a dramatic decline in soil carbon levels, in particular colloidal soil humus. Deforestation, reduced pastures and meadows, continuous cropping, over cultivation and excessive use of nitrogen fertilisers have all led to reduced soil carbon levels. This carbon has left the soil as carbon dioxide, one of the 3 primary greenhouse gases, and made its way into the atmosphere and ocean (causing acidification).

Soil Systems Australia guide companies and producers with project management, agronomy, horticulture, commercial and on-farm composting, organic consultancy, dairy production, waste water management (for rendering plants & abattoirs), establishing market gardens, education and soil surveys.

Soil Systems Australia
http://www.soilsystems.com.au/

USED CT360 Windrow Turner For Sale

USED CT360 Windrow Turner For Sale

USED CT360 Windrow Turner For Sale
Current location Canungra QLD

Call 0411 695 335 to find out more

More photos and inspection available on request

USED CT360 Compost Turner
USED CT360 Compost Turner

 

Information

The CT360 is an Australian made and designed, tractor pulled compost turner /windrow turner, that comes fitted with a spray system for applying compost inoculants and starters. The JPH Turners is the equal of any Compost/Windrow Turner currently sold in the world and Australian designed & manufactured with support available in Brisbane.  The CT360 has a 3600mm wide fully galvanised tunnel it also has a patented drum and paddle design that breaks up and mixes your compost ingredients while providing maximum aeration and product blending. The design also lifts the windrow to a greater height which allows more Compost material to be added thus improving productivity.

CT360 Compost Turner /Windrow Turner Specs:

  •     Manufactured: Australian Manufactured for Australian Conditions
  •     Tow Speed: Requires “creeper” or hydrostatic gearing.
  •     Drum Width: Uses a 3.6m wide drum.
  •     Windrow Size: Makes windrows 3.6m wide and 1.8m high.
  •     Weight: 2400kg
  •     Output: 1300 cubic meters per hour.
  •     Tractor Required: Suggested requirement of a minimum of 100hp tractor

Videos

 

Call 0411 695 335 to find out more

Farm Profits in Root Depth

Farm Profits in Root Depth (No Fertilisers Required)

Its’s true real Farm Profits are found in Root Depth, Not Fertilisers, watch this video with Dr Elaine Ingham to find out how you can get your plant roots go down 4 feet and more within 3 – 4 months using compost.

If you have been told that you need fertilisers because your soil is lacking nutrients to be able to grow plants, It’s not the only way, have you thought of improving the soil?  The root growth shown in this video is achieved not by adding more and more fertilisers but by improving your soil. Using compost to build a balanced soil ecosystem is a smart cost effective, long term option.  With healthy soils you don’t need any of these fertilisers inputs, so save your hard earned money and instead focus on building soil health using a quality compost to achieve root growth and let the soil ecosystem do all the work.

If you are a farmer you will most likely have been shown a laboratory soil test results, showing  “this or that” is missing in your soil and the only option recommend to you is to apply expensive chemical fertilizers which contain that “required” nutrients to “top up” your soil.  What they say seems to make sense,  but chemicals like nitrogen are only one small part of a healthy, living soil.  You already most likely know that chemical solutions are like expensive band aids that fix the problem now, but fade just as quickly and in the long run leaving you with more problems, like having to apply more and more of these chemicals each year and the problems keeps getting worst.

Watch this video with Dr Elaine Ingham, as she talks about how quality soil teems with a multitude of organisms, which provide all the necessary food for healthy plants to grow free from disease, pests and infertility. These interconnected interactions and feeding relationships (quite literally “who eats who”) help determine the types of nutrients present in soil, its depth and pH, and even the types of plants which can grow.

 

 

CT Compost Turners

CT_Series_Models

The fastest way to generate quality compost is via our CT Series Compost Turner/Windrow Turner has a unique “semi circle” double skinned, tunnel design, offering maximum strength and our patented drum and paddle design that efficiently breaks up and mixes your compost ingredients while providing maximum aeration and product blending. Find Out More

 

For more information visit dairyaustralia.com.au Making compost on dairy farms

Making compost on Dairy Farms

Making compost on Dairy FarmsDairy Australia Limited has put together a 5-page download titled “Making compost on Dairy Farms”. The Download covers compost production and how the application of compost to land can be used as a method of transforming farm organic residues to positive farm inputs. 

Across the farming sector and Dairy in particular there is increasing need to improve the cost effectiveness. Over the last few years’ compost use has grown on dairy farms, as an alternative or supplement to conventional chemical fertilisers or as a means of recycling nutrients and organic wastes back on the farm.

 

  • The Carbon to nitrogen ratio needed to maximise microbial activity and facilitate optimum composting.
  • The Moisture required for the microbes to achieve the temperature levels to adequately pasteurise and fully compost the starting materials.
  • Effective Aeration, to replenished the Oxygen needed to maintain the microbial activity
  • Site selection & Environmental awareness, when selecting a site consider the potential for runoff, odour, groundwater reserves and movement of windborne particles. Composting is a controlled process and sites should allow for easy access and monitoring.
  • Managing the composting process, covers Calculating the recipe, Making the windrows, Mixing the ingredients, Monitoring the compost, Turning and Maintaining the pile

Of particular importance is the ability to Turn the Compost, regular turning of the compost pile or windrow is vital to replenished the Oxygen needed to maintain the microbial activity and control temperature needed the for pasteurisation of pathogens and weed seeds.  It is important that the turning method allows the re-positioning of outside materials to the inside (core) of the heap mixing of ingredients and breaking down of any lumps that may have been present in the original mixture

Making compost on dairy farms

Acknowledgement: Information in the Dairy Australia fact sheet was adapted from
Western Dairy’s ‘The Power of Compost’ by Matt Evans
For more information visit
.
Hamilton Agricultural Contractors

CT360 Testimonial from Kelvin & Priscilla Hamilton

Priscilla & I purchased a JPH Compost Turner & Water Trailer in May 2017 to start our long-time dream of making Compost.  After a very informative induction by Jorgen of our new JPH machinery, we began making our own compost immediately.  The turner does everything plus more than I expected. The turner makes a very neat tidy row & turns every part of the compost.

Testimonial Kelvin & Priscilla HAMILTON

The water trailer is an excellent combination, easy to tow, turn around & fill. The trailer floats across wet ground with very little footprint.  I am proud to say we are marketing a top shelf compost, thanks to the excellent engineering & expert service of JPH equipment.

Kelvin Hamilton

If you would like to know more about any JPH Equipment or OZ Turners machinery give us a call on 0411 695 335 we would love to answer your questions and help in any way that we can.

So what is soil health - living soil

So what is soil health?

So what is soil health?

or Understanding and Managing Soil Biology

Soil health is a made up of its physical, chemical and living components, but can only be assessed by its living components, if the soil has no living components then it’s dirt. If the physical and chemical components are correctly balanced, but other factors stop the growth of life, then it is unlikely that soil could maintain a healthy status. New research has shown the critical importance of Soil health and organic carbon balance to soil health. Soil organic carbon is the main component of soil organic matter, or the broken-down remains of plant and animal life. So what is the connection between soil carbon, soil health and soil biology?

Here is the important bit

“Organic matter can not break down by itself!”

What's Composting?

Decomposition is done by a vast army of shredders, fungal feeders, predators and herbivores that devour plant and animal matter whole, dissolve it with acids and enzymes, grind it to a paste, and suck its juices! This work is carried out beneath the surface of the soil by creatures that can number billions of organisms per gram of healthy soil, imagine one teaspoon of soil can containing up to 1 billion bacteria. That equals a mass of over two tonnes of livestock per hectare! No wonder some people talk of ‘micro herds’.

The challenge for modern farming
is to understand the needs of the ‘micro herds’
and how to best use the hard work of these creatures to
improve the health and sustainability of our farms.

Imagine a farm where most of the required soil nutrients are provided free, where workers manage pests and diseases at no cost, and where weeds no longer require the unrelenting program of expensive spraying. Right now that might sound impractical, but solid scientific research is showing that with proper management of the biological component of our soils, these objectives don’t sound so crazy.

Science has long known and understood the nature of suppressive soils.  Suppressive soils resist diseases; with research is showing that we can grow massive biomass crops using only 10-20% of current nitrogen inputs; farmers are discovering a reduction in weed pressures when the underlying causes of the weeds are understood. These findings have a common explanation in soil biology.

It’s not the soil that’s weed suppressive,
Its whats living in the soil.

Soil Survey

These benefits are coming from bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms that are controlling pathogens, fixing free nitrogen from the air, and maintaining nutritionally balanced soils. Proper management of soil biology is central to sustainable agriculture. These skills have to be learned and applied across the full range of agricultural landscapes. This book represents one step on a journey into a new way of thinking about agricultural sustainability. It provides growers with practical help to start thinking about soils as ecosystems. What is a good bug and what is bad? How many is enough, too much or too little? What do these bugs tell me? And how can I adapt my management practices so that I am not working against the billions of organisms in my soil that can work for me?

There is an old saying that the best fertiliser is the farmer’s footprints – i.e. there is nothing as valuable as having a good close look at what is happening at ground level in the paddock. Central to discovering soil biology is development of the ancient art of observation. Although most farmers feel there is not enough time in the day, it is hoped that a focus on soil biology will encourage growers to climb down from the tractor, take out a 10x lens and take a really good look at what is going on down where it matters, in the soil. What changes are happening seasonally? How has a particular activity impacted on bug numbers? What can I do to boost their numbers? What benefits can I observe from looking after the micro herds?

The pressure from declining terms of trade has promoted a quantity mindset with quality in second place. That pressure threatens to push farms beyond their productive capacity with resulting declines in productivity, rises in pest and disease pressure, and a range of off-site environmental impacts such as sediment or nutrient export to waterways. Managing for quality as well as quantity depends on improved understanding of the soil as an ecosystem. Such knowledge will support landholders’ aspirations to farm sustainably and leave the land in as good or better condition than when they took over.

Compost builds a healthy soil with healthy biological function will produce healthy food and healthy livestock. It may not produce greater quantities of food or livestock, but it can produce comparable quantity with greater quality.

Soils Alive!

Understanding and Managing Soil Biology
Authors: Declan McDonald, Section Leader
Denis Rodgers, Soil Ecosystems Project Officer
Sustainable Land Use, Land Conservation Branch,
Resource Management and Conservation Division
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
OZturners visit Ian Townsend's Stanthorpe compost facility

OZturners visit Ian Townson’s Stanthorpe compost production facility

Today we travel with JPH and OZturners managing director jarn Hanson to visit Ian Townsend on his retail compost production facility south of Stanthorpe on the Queensland New South Wales border.

Ian has been particularly focused on reducing the production time and maximising his composting returns after starting with an end loader, he then purchased a JPH CT360 compost turner from Oz turners, that radically improved the quality and speed of composting.

As you can see, Iain technique is to use the maximum wind row size and a slower turning speed produce a larger amount of compost for the same investment of effort. The JPH CT360 compost Turner’s efficiency means that normally only a single pass is needed as water can be added at the same time as turning, producing a richer and more finished product in as little as only 6 weeks.

If you’d like to know more about any of the JPH equipment products or any of the other products sold by Oz Turner’s visit OZturners.com.au or call 0411 695 335

 

 

What's Composting ?

What’s Composting?

Composting is the breakdown of organic material into a dark, soil-like material where none of the original organic materials can be identified.  Most organic waste materials can be used to make compost such as husks, manure, effluent, vegetable and plant waste, stubble and so on can be used.

There are three types of composting

  • Vermicomposting – using composting worms
  • Passive composting – the natural and slow decomposition of plant waste
  • Active or Thermophilic composting – the rapid breakdown of organic material using machinery, heat and water to sterilise seeds and pathogens.

The Benefits of Composting

There are many benefits of using composting. The main benefits are the addition of organic matter, and micro flora and fauna. The organic matter provides food for soil life and increases stability of the soil so it becomes more resistant to erosion and compaction and holds more moisture. The micro flora and fauna are important in the recycling of nutrients within in the soil ecosystem.

What’s a soil ecosystem?

Most of a farm’s life exists underground and out of sight. Billions of organisms inhabit the soil, breaking down dead organic matter and releasing the nutrients necessary for plant growth. MICRO-organisms like bacteria, actinomycetes, algae and fungi, MACRO-organisms include earthworms and arthropods such as insects, mites and millipedes. Each group plays a role in the soil and assist the farmer in producing a healthy crop.

Adding Compost also:

  • adds natural organic carbon (C)
  • protects soil from erosion
  • increases soil structural stability
  • improves moisture holding capacity
  • increases water infiltration and reduces water run off
  • adds nutrients (as slow release)
  • encourages a wide range of soil organisms.

What You Need to Make a Good Compost ?

What's Composting?

The rules of composting are widely known and the same whether you are making a small pile for your own garden or a large commercial windrow for commercial production. The key elements needed when making good active or thermophilic compost are.

Aeration

The micro flora and fauna require air and by turning the pile regularly and include a range of different sized and shaped materials. BUT, remember that large pieces of woody material will take much longer to break down than smaller ‘chips’.

Moisture

Ideally, water content when composting should be 50 to 60% (it feels like a damp sponge but no water comes out when you squeeze it with your fingers). To make sure the compost pile stays wet enough during the composting process you will need to apply water to keep moisture up to the pile.

Organic ingredients

Good compost must have a balance of carbon-rich brown material (Straw, hay, woody material) and nitrogen rich green material (green leafy matter or manure) materials, to make the correct mix of carbon.

The Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio

The Carbon to Nitrogen ratio can be determined easily when you know the C and N values and weight of the product you are using. To calculate the C:N ratio, divide the total carbon % of your selected materials—or ingredients— by the total nitrogen % of your materials. You can have as many materials as you like.

An area suitable for composting

You will need to dedicate an area for at least 8–12 weeks. The area you identify should be relatively flat and free of stones, tree stumps, drainage lines and weeds (especially bulbous weeds). You can make a good base for the compost pile using crushed road base, granite or blue metal dust.   There should be enough room for machinery needed to turn the compost. The pile should be located so it will not contaminate adjacent land or waterways via wind drift and water runoff.

Machinery

If making a large amount of compost, you will need a Compost Turner or other machinery to turn the pile. A front-end loader or excavator will let you get started. Alternatively, you may consider using a contractor.

Cover

You may need to cover your pile if there is excessive rainfall.

How Do You Create Good Compost?

What's CompostingConstructing a pile

Mix all materials and construct a pile that is between 1.5 and 2 metres high and 2.5 to 3.6 metres wide. It can be as long as you need. Every 1 metre in length will make about 4 cubic metres (m3) of compost at these dimensions. Add water so that the pile is wet through but not soaked. Check a sample of material from the pile; if it glistens with water but doesn’t drip excess water then it is wet enough.

Turning the compost pile

After about one week, check the temperature in the pile. It should be between 50 and 650C (this is now considered a thermophilic compost). Use a shovel to dig a hole in the middle of the pile. You will probably notice steam rising and the compost should feel uncomfortably hot. You can check the temperature accurately with a thermometer or a data logger, which transfers temperature information to your computer.  If the temperature is right, turn your pile about seven days after measurement, or when the temperature starts to decline. If the temperature is above 70oC turn the pile immediately and reduce pile height to a maximum of 1.5m.

When turning the pile, ensure the materials from the outside of the pile are placed on the inside. This can be achieved by rolling the pile over using a front-end loader or lifting the pile and dropping in its original place using an excavator.

Monitoring the temperature

Adding water to make compostKeep monitoring the temperature on a weekly basis and turn the pile after the correct temperature has been reached each time. The pile will probably need to be turned at least three times before the compost is ready for use but may need up to six turns, depending on the materials used. Once the pile has stopped producing heat let it ‘cure’ for at least two weeks before use.

NOTE: It is very important for the windrow or compost heap to reach about 60oC to kill any pathogens, seeds and to break down all the material properly. However, It should not get hotter than 70oC as this will reduce the nutrient and carbon value of your compost and kill beneficial decomposer organisms.

When Is It Ready?

Good quality compost will take about 6-8 weeks if done properly heaver products like macadamia husk can take up to 12 weeks. It’s important not to use compost before it is ready as the oganic matter will still be nitrogen will have been temporarily taken by the decay organisms and be unavailable to plants.

Good quality compost that’s read to be used has the following characteristics.

  • Temperature; the windrow or pile has stopped getting hot.
  • Smell; a nice earthy smell, with no bad, sour or rotting odour.
  • Feel; The feel will be moist and earthy, not wet and sloppy or dry and powdery
  • Look; A rich dark soil sized where none of the original organic materials is distinguishable.

 

If you would like to know more the ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate produces a 4 page publication by to provide existing or prospective operators of composting facilities with the background information when establishing a commercial composting operation. This guide is also a reference guide to the large volume of resources readily available and accessible.