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E-M:/ Re: More: "what else does one do with manure?"



Lowell, I agree with your basic premise that the use of compost is superior to the use of synthetic fertilizers or non-composted manure.  But surely you must concede that it is also A LOT more expensive.  Unless consumers are willing to pay for the cost of organic farming (which to date, they have not been)  organic farming methods will not succeed in the market.
 
Ken

>>> Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com> 09/30/02 07:17PM >>>
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Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com>
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2002, Grant Trigger wrote:

> The fundamental problem with composting is almost no one can make it
> economical. The City of Windsor does it and Milwaukee - so asking a
> farmer to add this to his list of none economic burdens needs some
> perspective - if this was such an easy solution it would be done.

I do not believe it is just a matter of economics.

In Europe, composting both farm waste and municipal waste is very common,
utilizing both windrow composting and anaerobic digesters which provide
both compost and methane.

In the USA, most farmers have been sucked into the myth the petro-chemical
industry has created, for the need to use their chemical fertilizers.

The actual fact is that compost is far superior in building the health of
the soil which is critical for healthy crops. That is the whole basis for
organic farming, without the use of petrol-chemical derived fertilizers.

As far as lagoon sludge use instead of composting, that is a knowledge
problem and not a necessarily a matter of economics. Compost is far
superior to the spreading of "hot" sludge which is not completely broken
down by the bacteria, as in actual cured compost.

In short, the methods of true organic farming are gaining ground in the
USA and hence, the number of farmers using sound composting practices are
increasing. In fact, Michigan and California have the strictest organic
farm standards in the country but the new FDA organic standards and
labeling standards will actually undercut these strict state standards.

That is not to say, that these strict organic farm methods will anytime
soon, become wide spread on the corporate mega farms, given the influence
of the petro-chemical fertilizer industry and others like Monsanto, ADM,
etc. which are trying to control the world's production of food.

Lowell Prag

> >>> Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com> 09/30/02 05:03PM >>>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> > On Mon, 30 Sep 2002, Kenneth Vermeulen wrote:
> >
> > > Lowell, I've got several large farming operations that are very
> > > interested in putting in a digester/methane collection co-gen
> > > facility.
> > > Unfortunately, there always seems to be some major obstacle, like
> > > sand
> > > bedding, or a water discharge permit for the outflow from the
> solids
> > > separator, or the volume of manure necessary to make the project
> > > sustainable vs. the market for the compost. 
>
> Hello again Ken,
>
> As far as the economics of anaerobic digesters for your manure and
> other
> organic wastes, you not only have to consider the value of the compost
> produced but also, the value of the methane produced.
>
> Depending upon the size of your operation, the methane produced could
> negate your present costs for heat, electricity, and fuel for your
> vehicles.
>
> Any engineer could easily figure out for you, with some basic btu
> conversions, the amount and value of your projected methane
> production.
>
> In addition, if you produced a surplus of electricity with the methane,
> by
> federal law, your utility company must buy it from you. In effect,
> your
> electric meter would run backwards or in some cases, two meters are
> installed, one a debit and the other a credit.
>
> In short, we waste a huge amount of methane in the USA, by not
> recovering
> it from not only farm waste but also, all our other combined organic
> wastes. Maybe someday it will be a mandated technology when global
> warming is really taken seriously.
>
> As for also marketing the compost produced by the anaerobic digesters,
>
> if you are not going to use it all for your own soil, see the Michigan
> Recycling Coalition, http://www.michiganrecycles.org/
>
> They provide some in depth statistics on the compost market:
> State of Recycling in Michigan
> http://www.michiganrecycles.org/a_projects_measure.shtml
>
> There is also a less comprehensive list at:
> Suppliers of Compost Materials for Michigan Residents
> http://www.michigan.gov/mda/1,1607,7-125-1566_2311_2317-8019--,00.html
>
>
> For my own gardening needs, I have bought composted cow manure from
> Lowe's
> for about $1.20/40 pound bag which is the best price I've seen. I did
> however, stop buying it until the EPA gets the clopyralid herbicide
> issue
> resolved, as it can get into the compost by farmers using it on the
> forage
> crops.
>
> That is one major problem with buying bagged compost, as there is no
> uniform testing and labeling standards. One would think the composting
> industry would push for truth in labeling to gain consumer's
> confidence
> but that hasn't been the case to date.
>
> Lowell  Prag
>
>
>
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