The Process

That's not chocolate milk in the photo above. It's a by product of milk production - manure. From our farming operation we produce over 40,000 gallons each day. And it is not considered a problem on our farm. Rather, we view it as an opportunity. Our farm has come up with some creative ways of utilizing our nutrient resource. By managing it properly, we have been able to reduce or eliminate the use of man-made fertilizers, make our own bedding, build soils that need better structure, sell the manure solids to neighbor crop farms, burn methane for carbon credits, and of course, produce Bessie's Best!

Compost

  • Blackwood Mulch & Compost Mix

    This manure has already been separated once by our Bedding Recovery Unit (see below). This is the liquid portion left over from making bedding. It is homogenized, then pumped to our secondary screw press with a very fine screen in it, designed for capturing as many solids as possible.

  • Blackwood Mulch & Compost Mix

    This is the screw press separator, which removes every manure particle that is .5mm and bigger. The solids are dropped onto a conveyor to be moved to the compost building, or onto a truck to be taken to a neighboring farm. The liquid that is left from this process is what we store under our covered lagoon, to be field applied at an ideal time for crop production.

  • Blackwood Mulch & Compost Mix

    One of our trucks being loaded with raw manure solids. This load will be used to fertilize a neighbor's field to help them maximize their crop production. Because it is in solid form, it can be stored until the optimal time for field application.

  • Recycling Feed

  • Blackwood Mulch & Compost Mix

    First the manure is collected in a pit large enough to hold one day of manure. It is homogenized and recycled manure water is added if necessary to make the manure consistent for separation.

  • Blackwood Mulch & Compost Mix

    It is then pumped to the Bedding Recovery Unit. It is a self-contained unit that comes in used shipping containers. The top container houses the screw press and control panel. The bottom container houses the tumbler drum. It is a continuous 24/7 process, which produces a total of about 30 cubic yards of pathogen free bedding daily.

  • Blackwood Mulch & Compost Mix

    This is the BRU screw press, which separates the liquid from solids, capturing the large manure fiber. The liquid portion goes back to another pit, and is then sent to the screw press for secondary, finer separation (see above).

  • Blackwood Mulch & Compost Mix

    The solids are then dropped into the tumbler drum. The manure solids have the ideal C:N ratio for rapid heating through the natural composting process. By providing the ideal circumstances for the composting process, the material rapidly heats to 150 degrees F, which eventually kills 99% of any pathogens that are in the manure. We DO NOT ADD HEAT!

  • Blackwood Mulch & Compost Mix

    The process produces a "pathogen clean," dry, soft bedding for the animals. On our farm, it has proven to be a more comfortable, cleaner bedding for our cows than when we purchased sawdust or shavings.