Farm Composting Made Easy
Full scale farmers are finding compost a good source of soil nutrient, and a wonderful soil conditioner. Composting dung and farm yard manure produces something far more beneficial than fresh or rotted dung. Material such as straw, green waste from council collection, waste from vegetable and fruit growing and processing, this and more can be converted into compost. Apart from its value to farmers, there's an increasing commercial market, created by the future ban imposed on the digging and use of peat. In the next two years, the horticultural industry will be searching for a substitute to go in the pots of bedding and other plants.
Composting is set to become far more main stream than at present.
- Farmers and advisors are recognising that the condition of soils is deteriorating, both on arable and grassland. Soil is losing organic matter. The contribution of farm yard manure, or cattle slurry, is a fraction of what happens when the manure is turned into compost. The elements of phosphate and potash are both made more accessible to plants, and the compost makes a big improvement in soil structure, leading to increased worms and other biological activity.
- The rising cost of chemical fertilisers is making compost and other natural sources of plant nutrients increasing valuable, and therefore popular.
- general workshop skills,
- parts which can be sourced locally for scrap metal prices - the main component is a heavy duty lorry axle.
- a week or less of work
|The home built compost turner uses an adapted lorry rear axle and drive shaft to turn the windrow of compost|
|The PT 170 composter is a significant farm investment|
|Soil with low organic content, few worms, little biological activity|
|This soil is has been managed differently, with plenty of organic material resulting in a high worm count and good water retention|
Click HERE for more information on the home built machine
Further info:Practical Farm Ideas is a good source of information on reduced tillage systems. There's a feature on Cover Cropping in Vol 22-1 which we forecast will become "The Next Farm Revolution', because it answers so many of today's problems: declining soil condition; increasing inputs especially of diesel, fertiliser and pesticides; increasing need for heavy expensive machinery; reduction in habitat for birds, wildlife and insects. The magazine is so enthused by the topic of cover cropping the next issue has a further feature that shows how a 3,000 acre Midlands farmer has made the conversion, has got rid of his big machines such as the Caterpillar Challenger 875C (which could use 120 litres of diesel/hr towing the Simba Solo), the John Deere 8530, and now does the whole farm with a couple of 240hp tractors, and at a push says he could do it with just one.
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