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getting ready to compost

Discussion in 'Agricultural Equipment' started by quackattak, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. quackattak

    quackattak Well-Known Member

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    just got a 1979 scarab compost turner, Cat 3306, belt drive drum. Machine is running now I will post some more pics later.
     

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  2. PETE379

    PETE379 Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Manage and oversee daily operations, also process
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    Long Island, New York
    Keep us posted on how that works out, looked into one of those a few years back, but space could be an issue. What are you composting?
     
  3. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    i do believe I saw cows in the background there!
     
  4. quantum500

    quantum500 Well-Known Member

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    How many times are you touching the material? What kind of cost do you have in the material when it is finished? Looks like a very expensive way to take care of manure.
     
  5. quackattak

    quackattak Well-Known Member

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    Not sure on cost yet, the screening is kind of a new thing with manure. You want farmers to pay a little for the product, farmers don't want to pay for the manure when it is full of rocks. Compost turners have been around forever, up until a couple years ago you could not find one for less than a 100-150k. We have less than 70k into both machines. Everyday of the year we are handling this stuff, the turner should dry it much faster. Once dry we can screen it, once screened we can get rid of it. We have had a some interest from compost companies wanting to buy the product.
     
  6. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    number of times to handle

    thats the thing with compost, if you are in the business (or maybe just have to handle the stuff) manure as compost is a "multiple times" handling project. you just cannot get away from it. best a person can do to reduce the cost of handleing is to do it in bulk, as you are doing. In my area the average cost of compost is $32 dollars a yard wholesale. So for that price one can handle a few times.
     
  7. quantum500

    quantum500 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah its a tough game to get into. The biggest question to answer is what is the objective of composting? We wholesale at $8 a yard and make some money at it. There is no water to deal with. If you have a big enough yard even in wet areas I think you can get away with not removing the water. qauckattack you need to put a pencil to what your are doing and see exactly what kind of costs you have, I would think you are well above $30/yd just in cost. The only real glaring fault in your process is the screener. A tub grinder can do the same thing and you will have no over size stuff to deal with. I will warn you its a very steep learning curve to get a grinder to process manure. I've been at for 8 years now and still have a favorite shovel to dig the grinder out with. I own and operate a feedlot in the high desert of colorado. The wettest we move it is 50%. We pile it let it compost down to 25% to 30% then grind it. We touch it a maximum of 4 times and that includes loading it out. The last batch we made yielded over 50lbs of N per ton. Better than the local chicken litter compost facility. I'm very happy with the results.
     
  8. quantum500

    quantum500 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a video of grinding at a 40% + moisture (not recomended) we have since upgraded the compost grinder and if we really get serious there are some upgrades to the grinder that we can do to get around 500 tons per hr out of it. We are getting around 250 tons per hour in the video. It turns out silky smooth and every one loves it the grinder eats the rocks as well as all the lumps YouTube - grinding compost
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  9. quackattak

    quackattak Well-Known Member

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    Quantum what engine is your grinder running? Do you windrow your manure or just pile? what process do you use for removing manure from corrals? Just trying to compare costs.
     
  10. quantum500

    quantum500 Well-Known Member

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    Its a 3408 @500hp that's about the minimum size you want. In this particular instance we piled it in the pens pulled the grinder in the pen windrowed with the grinder and loaded out of the pens directly for the field. That turned out to be too much of a pain in the ass and since then we have been piling in the pen loading out and hauling to make a bulk pile. Each time trying to let it set a minimum of a week. Then we grind at some point during the winter making windrows. Finally loading out in the spring. So technically if the the farmer leaves it as a pile when they dump it in the fields for a couple of days we are getting our minimum 5 turns on it to be certified organic. We have a 10yd loader that we clean the pens with load trucks with and feed the grinder.
     
  11. quackattak

    quackattak Well-Known Member

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    Corral manure is much different than the separator manure we have to deal with, our manure pad is all manure from the separator and holding cells. The last 7 years we have used loaders to pile, dry and pile again, very expensive and inefficient. We have 4 980c Cats, 8 yard machines, they drink the fuel 7-8GPH (3406cat). I would hate to know what a grinder burns for fuel. We have been very careful on changing this system to more production and efficiency, one guy can just about handle all of it. The compost turner burns about 3-3.5GPH (3306 Cat) and is the least ran machine. The screen burns 1.5GPH (74hp Duetz) run all day costs hardly anything. We can feed the screen with one of our 3 yard machines 621 Case or 930 Cat 3-3.5GPH(5.9 cummins or 3304cat). I really don't think anyone can touch us on cost for what and how much we handle.
    RDO has a 25000 cow dairy close to were we are and they do everything we do except that everything is much larger and newer. They spent half a million on a screen and about the same on a turner, I have seen their screen and is scared the crap out of me. They use the screen because they are using the manure for their 20000+ acres of farm ground and they hate rocks. The screen also works well for all the trash, leg and ear tags, string and any other trash the flush system picks up.
    I think what your doing works pretty well for the drier corral manure, with our flush system we don't have much in the corrals. As far as a favorite shovel for digging out, I use the 3 strike rule. If I have do dig anything out more than 3 times it can go on the weeds.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  12. quantum500

    quantum500 Well-Known Member

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    I agree even though we are both talking about **** it is completely different ****. Speaking of screeners have you looked into star screeners? They can handle around 500yds/hr of the nastiest stuff you can throw at them. I understand that the little screener you have doesn't burn much fuel but how is production? 50yds/hr? The video I posted of the grinder it is putting out around 400yds/hr and burning 20 gallons/hr. Its not equal in fuel to the screener but if you factor in the time used and the lack of overs I think its a good option, but you're material has to be down around 40% moisture at least. Anyhow if you want some tips and tricks to get a grinder to do it let me know. The only reason we get to dig it out has more to do with the operator than any thing. If you will check my other videos out we are used to pushing things through up around 1000yds/hr. We never have to actually dig the tub out just the elevators. If we focused on manure we could remedy that and probably get up around 700yds/hr with the bigger grinders that we have. Its just not cost effective at this point. I would be interested to know what your compost is testing at and what you're selling it for?
     
  13. quackattak

    quackattak Well-Known Member

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    We had a custom outfit come in with a giant trommel rated at 500yds/hr before we bought anything. The only way that machine would do 500yds is with 1 1/2 screen in the trommel, the owner said everyone complains about rocks getting thru at that size of screen. 5/8 screen seems to be the standard for screening manure, that cuts the big machines down to 250-300yds/hr. Our machine is rated for 150yds/hr and were around 100 right now, the other nice thing is leaving the big loaders parked and using the smaller ones. Loading and running this machine throw in the turner is the same amount of fuel as just one on the big loaders. Wear and tear is also a factor I can keep one of these smaller machines running for 1/3 of the cost in maintenance and repairs of the big loaders. The most important thing for us is having our pad cleaned off before winter, we need to have a product that is easy to get rid of. I honestly don't think there is any money to be made in this stuff, not enough to justify huge costly pieces of equipment. For years I have heard so many different ways people were going to make money with manure. Money is tight every were in ag, that's why I'm so content on keeping costs down. In a good market what your doing could pay off very well, in a bad market mine is just a manageable expense. This is a good look into it, both sides.
     
  14. quantum500

    quantum500 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, that's for sure. What are you doing with the material once you process it?
     
  15. quackattak

    quackattak Well-Known Member

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    What has been processed was spread on some farm ground we were suppose to have done in the beginning of the year, we were stopped due to the rocks. The farmer across the road from the dairy has never wanted any of our manure, now that we have the trommel he has been over 3 times wanting to try some. The new problem for us is the spreader trucks aren't set up to spread this fine of material, looking at installing some kind of fertilizer spinner on the back of 2 of them. We have had a wet and cold spring this year so we haven't been doing much lately. Doing some repairs to the turner currently waiting for the weather to improve.
     
  16. quantum500

    quantum500 Well-Known Member

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    What are your prices?
     
  17. quackattak

    quackattak Well-Known Member

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    We have never sold any by the yard like you and the couple of other places around here that compost do. Almost everything that is sold out of here is spread with our trucks. Before the turner and screen were here we would charge $35.00 a load within 10 miles, 10-15miles $45.00, over 15 miles cheaper to have semi's haul and pile and us to take a loader and a couple trucks and spread at field. Found out yesterday we have 160 acres to spread in july, most the time farmers like 3 loads a acre. The company we purchased the turner from have several compost packaging plants, they wanted me to call them in july and see about making a deal to sell some. Closest plant is 200 miles so not sure how that will pencil. The july haul we will run 2 trucks, 14 days I figure $17000 for the job and $9000 for expenses, could be done in 12 days and figure $1200-$1300 off expenses.
     
  18. quantum500

    quantum500 Well-Known Member

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    Cool, hope you can get something worked out the bagging plant. Seems like way too far to haul it though.