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.

Compost sales

Opportunities and barriers to on-farm composting

A recent European study assesses the challenges to marketing on-farm composting startups

Four recent studies, based on surveys of European farmers, assess the challenges to marketing of compost and the barriers to farmer uptake of composts and organic farmers expectations.
These studies indicate that relatively few publications to date address composting (and other recycled nutrient) with a marketing customer focused approach, rather than the producer of the products. Studies of surveys of compost marketing information online and on 21 in-depth interviews (June~December 2014) with companies marketing compost were selected across  Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands and France. These interviews included composters, biogas plant operators, agricultural contractors, soil and organic fertiliser manufacturers, brokers and technology suppliers.

Key issues for marketing

  • Compost & Digestate marketing is often driven by difficulties of disposing of local / regional nutrient surpluses or because the operator itself does not control farmland
  • New business niches: e.g. agricultural contractors or organic fertiliser manufacturers can act as value-chain intermediates finding customers and suitable applications for product.
  • Certain products a best used in specific markets: organic farming, speciality horticulture and home gardening
  • Product quality is the key to marketing, including hygienisation (pathogen limits), nutrient content, contaminants and foreign materials (glass, stones). Quality control systems, for both feedstock and output are vital.
  • The product quantity will help define possible markets and appropriate product packaging and distribution channels
Sale prices depend on whether it is sold in bulk or in small-scale/retail, as well as on the degree of additional processing. While farmers often understand the ability of compost & digestate to bring organic carbon to the soil and also calculate the economy against traditional fertiliser.
Composting wet hay

Composting Spoiled Hay

In recent years many areas of Australia have been impacted by heavy rains and flooding spoiling hay and crops, Composting has been found to have the greatest potential to return some benefit to the farm and this is the focus of this fact sheet by Declan McDonald, Kevin Wilkinson and Sally Stead from the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

What is compost?

Aerobic composting is the rapid decomposition of organic materials into a humus-rich product ideally suited to soil improvement. High temperatures are naturally generated during the composting process resulting in the destruction of any weed seeds and pathogens that may be present in the raw organic materials.

Why do it?

If your farm produces sizeable quantities of ‘waste’ materials each year (e.g. spoiled hay, silage, manures etc.), then composting is a good way of improving your soil and extracting extra value from what was previously often regarded as waste.

Compost contains valuable nutrients and is rich in humus. Humus is long-lasting in the soil and can be beneficial in providing for improved physical, chemical and biological conditions.

How to compost anything!

This photograph shows the compost window

Figure 1. A compost windrow

While there are numerous composting methods available, the most simple and cost effective for farmers is the ‘Turned Windrow’ method. This involves piling organic materials in correct proportions, and with adequate moisture, in rows on a suitable surface and then mixing well. The dimensions of the windrow depend on the types of materials being composted, the space available and equipment being used. For a manure-based operation, the height of the windrow will be typically around 1.5m, with the base at two to three metres wide. The length of the row can be as long as space permits (Figure 1).

Many farm wastes (e.g. manure, hay, silage, sawdust) can be composted with minimal pre-treatment. Other wastes that become available from time to time (e.g. woody wastes) may need to be chopped up because they are too coarse. Once the wastes are correctly mixed in the right proportions, and at the right moisture content, the composting process will begin.

Composting is a biological process, carried out by microorganisms that are naturally present in the environment – so no special inoculants are required. All you need to do is provide organic materials in the right proportions, with moisture, and the microbes will do the rest!

Understanding the conditions required by the composting microbes is paramount to successful composting. Microorganisms have three basic needs and when these are provided the composting process will proceed and the mix will heat up. These needs are:

  1. oxygen
  2. adequate moisture
  3. suitable food supply.

Please READ MORE

 

 

Large scale composting

Improving soil with compost and cover

Improving soil with compost and ground covers is easy, you can make your own compost. In fact, you may be throwing away the materials you need to make this valuable resource. As an alternative, you can purchase compost and soil conditioners in bags or by the truck load from dealers. This can get a little expensive, especially considering compost should be added each year to Improve the soil but it’s worth it.

Composting is simply the act of helping natural materials such as leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps to break down. Composting methods can be grouped into two categories: passive or active. Passive composting methods allow nature to do most of the work, but take a lot longer to get a finished product. In passive composting, raw materials such as leaves, straw, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps are stacked into a free standing pile or placed inside a composting bin and allowed to break down on their own over the course of two to three years. This method produces good compost, just not very quickly.

Active composting can produce ready to use compost in as little as two months, but takes more work on your part. In active composting, raw materials are made into a pile similar to passive composting, but then the pile is turned every week to encourage rapid break down.

To build a compost heap, pile green and brown materials in 3”- 4” thick alternating layers in a free standing pile or inside a compost bin. Examples of brown materials include leaves, straw, newspapers, and wood chips. Green materials include vegetable scraps, grass clippings, plant debris, coffee grinds, and animal manure, but avoid pest waste, which can contain harmful bacteria. A few other things that should not be added to compost piles include meat and bone scraps, dairy products, grease or oil, perennial weed roots like Florida betony or dollarweed, and diseased plants, since the pile may not reach high enough temperatures to kill plant disease organisms.

Make sure to water each layer as you stack it so the finished pile has the moisture content of a damp sponge. Turn the pile every 5 to 7 days until you can no longer recognise any of the original materials because they have all broken down to a crumbly brown soil like consistency that has an earthy smell. This should take two to three months. To mix compost into the improving soil, spread a layer over the surface and then till in 150mm to 200mm deep.

COVER CROPS

Green manures are cover crops that are seeded directly into empty garden areas, allowed to grow for several weeks until they reach bloom stage, and are then tilled into the soil. Tilling crops into the soil adds nutrients and increases organic matter, and is much like growing compost directly.

 

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Written By

N.C. Cooperative Extension

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University work in tandem, along with
US federal, state and local governments, to form a strategic partnership
called the N.C. Cooperative Extension

 

 

nitrate chemicals from farm fertilisers are polluting the rocks beneath our feet

Nitrate fertilisers a pollution timebomb

Researchers at the British Geological Survey say Nitrate fertilisers are a pollution timebomb that could have severe global-scale consequences for rivers, water supplies, human health and the economy.

They say huge quantities of nitrate chemicals from farm fertilisers are polluting the rocks beneath our feet, a study says over time the nitrate will be released from the rocks into rivers via springs. That will cause toxic algal blooms and fish deaths, and will cost industry and consumers billions of pounds a year in extra water treatment.

In a paper in Nature Communications, the scientists from BGS and Lancaster University estimate that up to 180 million tonnes of nitrate are stored in rocks worldwide – perhaps twice the amount stored in soils.  They say this is the first global estimate of the amount of nitrate trapped between the soil layer and the water-bearing aquifers below. They warn that over time the nitrate will inevitably slowly seep into the aquifers.

 

The EU is trying to clamp down on careless application of nitrates but farmers say the fertilisers are vital for agricultural productivity.

The UK government has said all EU environmental laws will be brought into British law after Brexit. But a legal taskforce set up by the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) to examine the risks of Brexit identified nitrate pollution as an example of the protections that will be at risk when European laws are rolled over into domestic legislation in 2019.