Thoughts on using a JPH CT360

Chris Cameron from Platinum Compost talks compost turners

Thoughts on using a JPH CT360 Windrow Turner.

Chris Cameron
Director of Production, Platinum Compost Pty Ltd
Toowoomba , Queensland.

To whom it may concern.

 

My name is Chris Cameron, I currently live in South-East Queensland, and I have been working with Biological Agriculture for over 50 years, working out how best to restore productivity to our ancient and weathered Australian soils. The problem, once understood properly, is not difficult.  We lack Organic Matter, many essential minerals have been leached out over the eons, and we lack beneficial soil biology in most areas.

About 20 years ago I managed to make the jump from garden scale compost making up to paddock scale, as well-made compost, and what can be blended with it, will quickly reverse most of our problems. My first major work was done with an old end loader, slow and inefficient, but effective in the end.  Output with it was very low.

Over the intervening years I have worked with six different Compost Turners of varying types, American, European, Australian Factory built, Australian “home built”, and am currently using a Queensland designed and built JPH CT360, a tractor pulled, PTO driven machine.

It is quite different in design to any of the Turners I have used previously, in that it does not have a huge counterweight and hydraulics that allow the turning mechanism to stand upright for transport.  Initially I felt this may be a problem if I got “bogged” in a new windrow, but after having run through, effectively, 20K tons of material I have had absolutely no problem.  Without the huge counterweight the machine is light and easy to manoeuvre, the way it folds in behind the tractor for transport is quick, easy, and effective.  As there is not a huge weight of machine ever up in the air, it is also far safer to work around!

With the obvious exception of using a Loader to turn windrows, every Turner I have used in the past has had a habit of throwing heavy bits forward, causing some glass breakages on the towing tractors, and needing special screens to prevent this happening, restricting somewhat the clear view of what is happening behind.

The very different “tyne and paddle” design of the JPH machine greatly reduces this and I run safely with no screen and the tractor back window open to give me the most uninterrupted view of what is happening.  This is a great development!

This same drum design and layout, which is so different from the majority of Turners, is extremely efficient in doing the 3 tasks needed of a Turner: complete inversion of the windrow, rapid reduction of particle size, and even incorporation of mineral additives, if these are used.  Feedlot manure, my main feedstock, can arrive in huge chunks almost as hard as concrete and these are rapidly reduced to a fine texture.

One of the best features of this machine is its extremely low power requirement!  The biggest machine I used in North Queensland a monster spanning over 5M needed over 300hp to drive it, and the tractor struggled.  I am pulling this JPH CT360, with a small tractor with about 80 PTO hp and its in-cab readout reports I am using barely 30% of available power for a full-sized windrow!  This is exceptional!

On the service and maintenance side, everything that needs regular service is easy to see, and access.  This means that maintenance is not ignored because it is too hard to do regularly.

I am delighted with this machine and would have no hesitation in recommending it, or its “brothers”, and plan on using more in the near future.

 

The tractor we are using, a JD6110R.

The tractor we are using, a JD6110R.

normal windrow size

Normal windrow size, full width of machine being used, as the material settles.

Turning and watering

Turning and watering.

Power usage indicator in tractor cabin.
Power usage indicator in tractor cabin.

Minerals ready to incorporate

Minerals ready to incorporate.

Turning in minerals

Turning in minerals.

Windrow after one incorporation pass

Windrow after one incorporation pass.

Thank you,
Chris Cameron
Production Manager,
Platinum Compost Pty Ltd.
Toowoomba, Queensland.

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

NEW CTmini Towable Composter

NEW CTmini Towable Composer Turner is built on the same principle and functionality as the bigger machines,  just smaller ,with hydraulic steering and hydraulic lift. This turner has a 180 cm wide Drum and the overall  machine is only 255 cm wide and 150 cm long when the drawbar is folded in

CT Mini Compost turner

Ideal for smaller farms and lower volume composters

CT Mini Compost turner