Monday, June 19, 2017

More Biochar Barns

At Michaels Ranch, the winter barn was cleaned out about a month ago, and the manure was piled. Last year, we made two piles, one that was plain manure, as usual, and one that had high carbon boiler ash (about 40% char) mixed into it during the cleanout. When we measured the pile temperatures last year, we found that neither pile got much hotter than 90 degrees F. So the manure did not really compost properly.

This year was different! This year, the high carbon ash was added to the barn at the beginning of winter, so it was well mixed into the manure by the action of cow hooves. It was also in place to capture nitrogen from urine that might otherwise have volatilized and been lost to the atmosphere. Lo and behold - the piles are getting hot! We measured 130 degrees F - definitely thermophilic compost.

Manure pile with high carbon ash well-mixed

Piles are getting hot - 130 degrees F.

The consistency of the pile is very nice - it is well mixed and nicely granular. It should flow well through the manure spreader.

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