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DeepGreenLawn
09-15-2008, 11:38 AM
OK, was skimming the Synthetic threads and this is a new topic, well, old topic reborn... So I thought I would bring it over here and see what others are thinking... do you see the same with organic products?

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=246003

So... costs of ferts are on the rise more and more and they say it is not going to slow down anytime soon. I am going to have to get this whole compost thing going faster than I thought. I am hoping that this thread will also wake my partner up and get him on board with the compost. He is not liking the start up costs... but then again, just the amount of money to get the fert we will need to treat our customers next year is going to surpass that alone for one treatment.

SO, this also has me wandering... has anyone noticed if the costs of the products used to ammend(?) the compost are going through the roof as well? Or is the products we use not associated with the products used to make the synthetic ferts?

Thanks,

JDUtah
09-15-2008, 12:12 PM
what do you amend the compost with? Are you talking about rock dusts etc? Or innoculants? I don't believe you need innoculants.

Oh maybe lime and gypsum to adjust the compost pH?

Either way, my belief is compost fertility programs will have a very nice market over the next long while, if done responsibly. I met with an extension agg guy for 3 hours last week. He thinks the market is there too. In fact, he wants to jump on board and be my competition... Oops! :)

ICT Bill
09-15-2008, 12:56 PM
The biggest cost increases are the direct result of fuel prices, waste streams are waste streams, often the waste controls the business

The biology we grow out does not cost any more but keeping stainless vats at 28C cost more than it did last year

DeepGreenLawn
09-15-2008, 01:38 PM
JD, yeah, I am mainly talking about the rock dusts, etc.

ICT, I understand the fuel costs issue, I was curious about the material costs...

The more I hear the costs of synthetic ferts going up the more excited I get about the future compost operation I will have...

One day...

treegal1
09-16-2008, 02:54 PM
waste!!!!!!!!!!!! the railroad pays to get rid of rock dust, and its loaded with iron so they can not sell it for concrete.


the wood ash is easy to come buy, and some of the other things that you can use are still waste products, bone chare. water weeds, sewer sludge, even leaves are a factor in the scope of things, say you get a few lcos to bring the fall leaves to U, and maybe pay? the cost of your fuel needs to be offset by the producers of the waste stream, its there problem until they pay you!!!!!!!!!and it controls there business!!!!!!!!

DeepGreenLawn
09-16-2008, 03:46 PM
I know and I love the idea...

when you say wood ashe and bone char... that is basically what is left over, the ashes, from when something gets burnt.

treegal1
09-16-2008, 04:24 PM
just google search them, add wiki at the end for ease, its just easy P and K

ICT Bill
09-16-2008, 04:34 PM
Did you know that duck weed is 8% nitrogen, chickens love it. It is also 98% water, 1 ton fills a 5 gallon bucket after drying, not exact but close.

We are having fun with an organic trial in FL, while we wait for some data back we are going to set up a conveyer belt that travels 100 yards in 2 days with a hoop house over it. One part skims a little duckweed and moves it to the conveyer, after 2 days the duck weed is dry and falls into a big bucket, the duckweed is mixed with some other stuff and used as a sidedress on the farm.

treegal1
09-16-2008, 04:54 PM
Bill thats a great idea, to bad we have some better plans with the duck weed and water lettuce, we evn have a way to harvest hydrailia and other weeds. as far as drying them, the sun is a powerful tool, and has plenty of power out put to spare. funny thing is that the weeds are a problem and the state is paying to get rid of them, oh well see ya on the lake or on one of its many tributaries soon, I guess.LOLOL why do you thing I just got deep water access from coast to coast and back right up to the lake. hint its fuel to move the stuff...........

DeepGreenLawn
09-16-2008, 06:30 PM
How and/or where would you go to find water weeds? Especially around here? It seems like the lake is pretty self sustainable?

Smallaxe
09-18-2008, 09:40 AM
Anything you pull out of a lake is going to have nutrients that are less common in land plants. You may also have a lot more inorganic waste and/or toxins than Milorganite. [most surface waters are polluted]

Once you stop chasing the NPK, your system will save clients money and healthy lawns will be the norm, not the exception.

DeepGreenLawn
09-18-2008, 09:48 AM
Once you stop chasing the NPK,

It is amazing how hard this is to actually do with everyone saying you need X amount of NPK per year... blah blah blah...

When I walk into a store or am talking to someone about their lawn and I am thinking "Screw all this NPK, lets just get a healthy lawn..." I think I am crazy myself... this is why I never say that out loud.

I have gotten to the point of understanding that so much N per year is not the answer to a healthy lawn... now it is getting to fully understanding the opposite... what the lawn needs other than NPK to get a healthy lawn... I think this will make a lot more sense when I am actually making my own compost and CT.

ICT Bill
09-18-2008, 11:13 AM
DGL, The answer actually is very simple. Simple forms of nutrients feed the soil that feeds the plant.

One of the reasons we are using compost teas is because it is such a pain to put down compost, we "kind of" process the compost and just get the Beneficials, a crude fermentation if you will. If it wasn't so labor intensive to put down compost we wouldn't even need compost teas except for foliar disease suppression.

Making compost and applying it is a lot like firewood, you have to handle it so many times that it is something that is difficult to make a profit on, as a commodity product (well maybe this year will be different as firewood is at $250/$275 per cord this year)

When you change your thinking and start using it as an input to a service, then it makes sense

If you want NPK add it to your compost that will go down on your customers lawn, talk about a slow release fertilizer

DeepGreenLawn
09-18-2008, 03:06 PM
DGL, The answer actually is very simple. Simple forms of nutrients feed the soil that feeds the plant.

One of the reasons we are using compost teas is because it is such a pain to put down compost, we "kind of" process the compost and just get the Beneficials, a crude fermentation if you will. If it wasn't so labor intensive to put down compost we wouldn't even need compost teas except for foliar disease suppression.

Making compost and applying it is a lot like firewood, you have to handle it so many times that it is something that is difficult to make a profit on, as a commodity product (well maybe this year will be different as firewood is at $250/$275 per cord this year)

When you change your thinking and start using it as an input to a service, then it makes sense

If you want NPK add it to your compost that will go down on your customers lawn, talk about a slow release fertilizer

If I were to make my own CT that would not have an NPK(generally speaking) value correct? The compost supplies the nutrients, the CT supplies the beneficials... not much else?

JDUtah
09-18-2008, 03:17 PM
If I were to make my own CT that would not have an NPK(generally speaking) value correct? The compost supplies the nutrients, the CT supplies the beneficials... not much else?

Well, it will have some. Microbes need nutrients to build and reproduce. Yes even NPK. You feed them NPK and other nutrients with the fish emulsion, kelp, meal, etc. CT inputs. Although I am learning CT doesn't take very much food.

Think law of the limiting factor.

------

Take the total NPK you add to the tea in the form of 'organic microbe food', and divide that by the total area you apply it to. Assuming an even application you now have your NPK amount applied with the tea. (some folks think that is overkill)

Edit: I just noticed your 'generally speaking'.. so if you had that understanding.. sorry. I'll leave it for others.

DeepGreenLawn
09-18-2008, 07:02 PM
right, kind of like Bills product has like 2-?-?... but it is not a slow release or anything like that... sooo... to have the proper nutrients compost would need to be put down.

How often do you suggest compost be applied as an app, not including "touch up" apps but an actual topdress... I am thinking maybe every 8 weeks? Or is that more than it needs, I would apply CT every 4 weeks both with and with out the compost...

JDUtah
09-18-2008, 07:06 PM
Topdressing=once or twice a year.

1/4" (.75 yards per 1,000) will put down ~4.5 lbs N at 1.2%N tested.

That's all a lawn needs a year...

Careful here, it is blending organic and synthetic mindsets.

Smallaxe
09-19-2008, 10:41 AM
Having OM in the soil builds both, soil structure and cation exchange sites. Nutrients need to be held on CE sites, on clay particles and/or OM particles. They do not adsorb to sand. So you can have all the NPK you want, but unless it is held in the soil ready to exchange to the root, it is not going to do you much good.

Compost physically provides those CE sites. Compost also provides habitat for microbes who will continue to live and breed and die. When actively alive they are digesting everything in the soil to make it available to plants. When habitat and water is right they breed like crazy building a great soil structure. When dead, their carcasses feed the plants as well.

The wee beasties feed on thatch, dead bugs, clippings and any other sort of organic debri that may happen into the yard, then, turn it all into plant food. It is a buffet that the plant decides what it wants and when it wants it.

When 'thatch' happens that is an absolute sign that you are force feeding the lawn with N , when it does not need N. Alternately, Organics set up the buffet.

Various lawns require 'various' amounts of compost, water, and feeds. I personally have never put down 1/4" of compost at a time. [1/8" tops] Don't see that I ever needed to. Your situation may be different. Neither is compost a "one size fits all" scenario. :)

JDUtah
09-19-2008, 01:12 PM
Well said smallaxe