Yes, we like to keep our infrastructure as simple as possible; and yes, we want the cows to deposit their own “fertilizer” evenly across the pastures as they graze. But there’s a considerable amount of manure that gets plopped in places where it needs to be cleaned up. The cows come in for milking twice daily and poop in the holding pen. When they’re in the barn they add nitrogen (poop, pee) to their bedding (wood shavings, high in carbon) and that bedding makes a great start for composting.
We’ve been working since January on our aerobic static compost pile. We build the pile with perforated pipes attached to a pump to push air into the material: the necessary ingredients are carbon, nitrogen, moisture, and air. Jordan has been installing our system, tweaking the mix of ingredients, taking temperatures to assure good composting action – and we are producing some terrific soil amendments for our pastures!
This program dovetails with our Regenerative Farm Plan. We’re using waste materials – bedding and poop – to make a valued soil amendment. The resulting compost circles back to build organic matter in the soil, sequester carbon, produce more nutritious food for the cows, and in the process mitigates a fly breeding problem. For the time being, all compost is going onto our pastures – in the future we may add compost to our product offerings.