Composting Systems, Waste Management and Soil Fertility Blog

Yield of Forage Crops Increased by High Quality Feedlot Waste Compost

Posted by Midwest Bio Systems on Wed, Feb 06, 2013 @ 20:02 PM

In the summer of 2012 the Continental U.S. faced its worst drought in recent history. Dry conditions across the Midwest decimated many farmers' grain harvests. Illinois farmer Scott Block was among the victims of the drought and suffered severe crop losses, particularly among his corn and soy crops. But thanks to his on-farm composting program, Block found a way to cut his losses in the aftermath of the drought, and in the case of a late planted oat forage, he discovered the potential of compost to increase the yield of forage crops on his farm.

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Tags: soil fertility, fertilizer, on-farm composting, feedlot industry

Feedlot Waste is the Start of a Revenue Generating Compost Business

Posted by Midwest Bio Systems on Mon, Feb 04, 2013 @ 12:02 PM

When Illinois feedlot owner, Scott Block, began composting his feedlot waste, he discovered a new and profitable source of income for his farm. Block raises 640 beef cattle in an old model of farming where the cows, in the form of meat, add value to his grain crops. His composting, which he began in the fall of 2011 as manure management, has quickly turned into a profitable business that is becoming a major income-generating element of his farm.

The start of a new business

Scott Block's motivations for composting were simple: First, he wanted to reduce costs associated with hauling and spreading his manure and feedlot waste. And second, he wanted to enhance the fertilizer value of this manure and waste to supplement his fertilizer needs across his 1,700 acres of cropland. His long-term goal is to completely replace all his commercial fertilizer needs with the high quality compost he produces with his Aeromaster pull-type compost turner. “We actually didn't apply any dry fertilizer last year, we strictly went with one ton to the acre of compost on our corn ground. And then we applied nitrogen later on,” he said. “I wasn't recommended to go that crazy, that fast, but our crops yielded just as well as anyone else's. That's our goal, to get away from all commercial fertilizer if we can.”

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Tags: waste management, feedlot waste, feedlot industry

Feedlot Waste Management Becomes Profitable with Compost

Posted by Midwest Bio Systems on Fri, Feb 01, 2013 @ 18:02 PM

Scott Block is preserving a way of farm life that used to be common in his area of Illinois. He's raising grain to feed to his cows, and then selling beef as a way to add value to his grain harvest. “I don't farm enough to just live off of grain farming, so I guess I'm trying to do it the way people used to,”  he explained.  “You got some cattle, you have a little grain farm.” But Block has scaled this business model to modern systems of food production, farming on a much larger scale than his for-bearers. His “little” grain farm includes some 500 acres of his own cropland, and he farms another 1,200 acres that he rents 45 miles away from his main farm. His beef cattle herd is 640 head and he also has a 200-head cow and calf herd. Composting is helping him keep his business model profitable, by helping him solve several of the challenges his large operation faces. It has also provided a new source of revenue for his farm.
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Tags: waste management, feedlot waste, feedlot industry