Petenwell Park Improvements | Adams County, WI

What are you doing with your bedded pack manures?

Andrew Skwor, PE, CPESC | with 0 Comments

What are you doing with your bedded pack manures?

What are you doing with your bedded pack manures? If your answer is, “Applying it directly to my field,” you may be unintentionally decreasing your next crop yield. Some experts state that applying bedded pack manures to the field can result in decreased crop yields.  This decrease is primarily due to the degradation of the manure. The biological conversion from an organic to inorganic material requires nutrients, primarily nitrogen, to facilitate that conversion. When this happens, your crops pay the price.
Some producers incorporate composting as a management practice to abate this loss in yield. When you compost the bed pack, you don’t grow anything for the 10-12-week conversion period.  Instead, you rely on “bugs” to execute the conversion. This reduces the volume of bedded pack manure and converts the wastes to an inorganic state. In the end, you create a high quality soil amendment that can now be applied to land.
Why are producers turning to on-farm composting?

Along with reducing waste volume and building a better soil, composting provides the following benefits:
  • Creates a soil amendment that allows soil to better retain moisture
  • Saves fuel costs by requiring fewer trips to the field
  • Helps rebuild organic percentage in soils, since compost is mostly organic material
  • Provides an option for managing on-site mortalities
How does a producer get started with on-farm composting?

Here are four steps to get started:
  1. Develop a site plan that specifies where and how you’re going to complete the compost process
  2. Create an in-barn recipe that can be composted directly in a windrow or heap
  3. Maintain ideal moisture and temperature levels, and turn the compost at optimal times
  4. Evaluate your options for utilizing the organic material – does it make the most sense for you to apply it to your own field, or would it be more beneficial for you to sell it?
Need help formulating your on-farm compost plan?  Contact MSA’s Andrew Skwor, PE, CPESC, for more information on composting and manure management. 

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