Rex Harris of Piccadilly Park talks about his macadamia growing operation and the changes he has made to make his business more sustainable. In particular, he talks about cover cropping, composting and the use of biological solutions like the JPH compost turner.
Thoughts on using a JPH CT360 Windrow Turner.
Director of Production, Rockmin 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.
Normal windrow size, full width of machine being used, as the material settles.
Turning and watering.
Power usage indicator in tractor cabin.
Minerals ready to incorporate.
Turning in minerals.
Windrow after one incorporation pass.
Rockmin Compost Pty Ltd.
We are excited to learn of a new TAFE course “Manage on farm composting” (AHCORG408 – Release 1)
This TAFE course will show you how to implement and manage an on farm compost system, explain the chemistry and flow of the composting processes and what’s involved with manage a composting site.
Once you have completed TAFE course you will be able to make compost, evaluate it’s quality and implement remedial actions if required. The business side is also covered with modules on implementing workplace health and safety policies, site quarantine and biosecurity protocols.
The candidate must demonstrate knowledge of:
- Compost quality standards
- Basic principles of composting
- Different methods of composting
- Characteristics of a range of raw materials
- Fundamental characteristics of compost quality
- Steps in pre-processing compost materials
- Batch documentation techniques
- Site and equipment requirements for on farm composting
- Key process control stages critical to consistent compost production
- Overview of systems and technologies used in compost production, particularly as relevant to farm
- Characteristics and categories of a range of compost products.
- Relevant environmental, work health and safety legislation and regulations
- Record keeping requirements
- Site quarantine and biosecurity protocols
- Agro-ecological principles
- Principles, practices and inputs allowable under the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce if applicable
Competency is to be assessed in the workplace and/or a simulated environment that accurately reflects performance in a real workplace setting.
To find out more visit https://training.gov.au/TrainingComponentFiles/AHC/AHCORG408_R1.pdf
Humans tend to see the world as a solid ball of rock coated with a thin layer of soil and life. But lately, scientists have been finding out planet looks more like a wheel of cheese, one whose thick, leathery rind is perpetually gnawed and fermented by the microbes that live in the planets innards.
You would need a microscope to see the life in this subterranean biosphere, however scientists have estimated the total amount of life on Earth that exists below ground, is vast. It’s made up mostly of Soil organisms (biota), such as bacteria and their evolutionary cousins, the archaea think microscopic flora and fauna. With “Something like 70% of the total number of microbes on Earth in the soil below our feet”. The role all these organisms play in shifting carbon about the Earth is profound, you cannot begin to understand soil carbon on Earth without understanding the diversity and influence of underground life. Microbes in the soil turn over carbon, take in carbon, and breathe it out. They do amazing things to transform the soil environments, and are vital to produce health crops and livestock
There is a two-way relationship between soil biota and agricultural production. Soil organisms (biota) carry out a vital range of processes that are important for soil health and fertility in both natural and managed agricultural soils. This subterranean microscopic biosphere provides the energy and nutrients for the biota, which consume the organic matter (OM), and improve nutrient availability and soil structure. Agricultural practices can be both beneficial and detrimental to the soil biota.
Soil organisms (biota), can range in size from microscopic e.g. bacteria to centimetres (or metres Giant Gippsland Earthworm)
• Most Soil biota activity is concentrated in the top 1m of soil, but extends deeper than 50~100 m.
• Millions of organisms exist but only a fraction have been identified e.g. 5% of fungi and 3% of nematodes.
• 80 – 90% of soil biological activity is carried out by bacteria and fungi.
• Resistance to extreme changes in the soil environment increases as organisms decrease in size.
• The reproductive interval reduces with a decrease in organism size e.g. bacteria reproduce themselves in hours whilst earthworms may take weeks.
• In natural and managed farming environments a complex food web exists. These ‘predator-prey’ relationships help control the balance of species present in the soil, and the balance can be destroyed with poor farming practices.
• Studies have shown that not only does heathy Soil biota activity improve yields, it reduced the incidence of plant disease.
Life in the Soil – CSIRO Authors: VVSR Gupta, SM Neate, E Leonard – This information is based on research carried out by the Cooperative Research Centre
for Soil & Land Management and other national and international institutions. More information on Soil Biota can be found on the University of Adelaide web page:
Deep life – Researchers at the Deep Carbon Observatory announce the results of the 10-year study suggesting 70% of bacteria and archaea exist in the subsurface of the Earth.
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.
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.
Introducing the Bagger 3 HD from JPH Equipment
The Bagger3 HD is a heavy duty stationary bagger for industrial use. It’s designed for Sand yards, gravel pits and for use with stock feed, Rock, fertilizer, grain and much more. The Bagger3 HD is designed for products that are normally problematic for standard bagging machines like moist compost, wet sand, damp crusher dust, stock feed and bark chips
Optional productivity extras
The Height adjustable work conveyor is removable to enable filling of bulk bags and bins. With bag horns and bulk scales available as an option extra. The motorised handling belt makes it easy on the operator allowing Heat sealing or sewn bag closure with no heavy lifting or dragging. With a Fast change material chute to allow for the filling of a wide range of bag sizes
If you would like to know more about the Bagger 3 HD from JPH Equipment Click Here
JPH Equipment is offering a Upgrade to a 8kVa/6Kw Diesel unit on select JPH Equipment Bagger3 HD and LC1000 Conveyor/loader products that are sold fitted with Generator.
The Generator is a 4-Stroke, air-Cooled Engine with Earth Leakage and electric Start a Heavy-Duty Steel Casing and 15L Fuel Tank. The unit has Three Phase, and single phase outputs and a 12v DC outputs that are monitored via a LCD Screen showing volts, amps, overload and thermal protection status. The added capacity of the unit built-in to your Bagger or Conveyor of provides you with the flexible power options to add site lighting, radios, charge phones and devices.
The features of the upgrade includes
- Super silent! Three Phase AC generator
- Inbuilt self-excitation system – ensures prolonged quality of generator voltage and power
- Powerful air cooled 4-stroke diesel engine!
- Includes single phase and three-phase weatherproof outlet
- 12V/8.3A DC Output
- 240V AC Output
- Three Phase
- Earth leakage
- Voltage regulator
- Huge 16L fuel tank!
- Meets EPA emission standards
- Weatherproof Outlets – Work Cover Approved
- Protective low-oil system – automatically shuts down when oil is nearly out
- Industrial wheels
- Compact frame design
- Engine: 8KVA 4-Stroke Diesel Engine (air cooled)
- Rated Frequency: 50Hz
- Rated Voltage: 240V/415V
- Max Power:
- 2800W (240V)
- 6500W (415V)
- Starting System: Electric Start/Recoil Start
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 16L
- Run time on 75% load: 8.5hrs
- DC Output (V-A): 12-8.3A
- Displacement: 418cc
- Lube Oil Capacity: 1.655L
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 950mm x 560mm x 850mm
- Weight: 185kgs
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
A major new study involving researchers from the University of York has measured a global shift towards more sustainable agricultural systems that provide environmental improvements at the same time as increases in food production.
The study shows that the sustainable intensification of agriculture, a term that was once considered paradoxical, delivers considerable benefits to both farmers and the environment.
The study, published in the leading journal Nature Sustainability, involved researchers from 17 universities and research institutes in the UK, USA, Sweden, Ethiopia and New Zealand.
Their assessment shows considerable progress has been made towards the sustainable intensification of agriculture, with sustainable approaches now being implemented on 163 million farms worldwide.
Co-author of the assessment, Professor Sue Hartley, who is director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute and University’s Research Champion for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience, said: “It has long been thought that increased food production would have to come at the expense of the agricultural environment and its biodiversity, but this paper shows that this trade-off is not inevitable and the sustainable intensification of agriculture is both possible and increasing globally.”
“The use of techniques such as integrated pest management, agroforestry, and micro-irrigation is expanding and are now being practiced on 29% of farms worldwide, with the greatest advances in low and middle income countries. Our research shows this can deliver the ‘win-win’ of improved agricultural and environmental outcomes.”
With the benefits of these sustainable technologies and practices, devised with input from both farmers and scientists, increasingly evident, the researchers are calling for policy makers worldwide to establish measures to increase their uptake still further.
The study concludes that sustainable intensification of crop production may be approaching a tipping point where it could become transformative.
Global assessment of agricultural system redesign for sustainable intensification is published in Nature Sustainability.
The research was carried out by Professor Sue Hartley from the Department of Biology in collaboration with researchers from 17 universities and research institutes in the UK, USA, Sweden, Ethiopia and New Zealand.