The Advantages of On-Farm In-Vessel Composting

CANADA - A US-based weanling producer is convinced on farm in-vessel composting is the way of the future for disposing of dead animals, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 29 July 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

About two and a half years ago, due to biosecurity concerns, Sampson County, North Carolina based Bobcat Farms switched from rendering to incinerating dead animals.

Last October, due primarily to the rising cost of diesel fuel as well as the safety and environmental concerns associated with incineration, the operation invested in a 30 foot Biovator, a rotary drum composting system.

Henry Moore says an independent energy audit showed the investment was sound.

Henry Moore-Bobcat Farms

The energy audit itself showed that we had a value of about 28 to 30 thousand dollars a year in savings on diesel fuel alone, not to mention the benefits for the environment and the ability to utilize the end product.

We're using the end product to fertilize our pastures as nitrogen has become very expensive and commercial fertilizers have become so expensive over the last two to three years with the rising cost of fuel.

It's been important to utilize all sources of nitrogen that we can on the farm to produce our small grains and our hay.

We spread our compost over our crops and we do a soil sample each year.

We analyze also our compost to see what percent of nitrogen and other nutrients are in the compost that we can make a more precision application and put it where we need it.

And, while we're talking about the compost, the composition of it, if you have weak land like here in North Carolina, in certain areas we have sandy land that doesn't do a very good job of holding moisture.

This compost really builds up the land and the quality of the soil to help it maintain a little more moisture to grow a better crop.

Moore has he has been pleased with every aspect of the switch and he believes in-vessel composting is the way of the future.

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