Lately, there has been news on new product lines for farm animal, landscape bedding (mulch) and landfill composting for overburden tillage that claims to have better performance parameters than the competition here in North America, e. g. tree bark from cedar or tropical coconut husk for mulch.
Overburden is an interesting prospect considering there are possibilities of taking supplies to remediate organic soils to recondition farmland and including fertilization with nutrients using supplemental urea-N, and potash and phosphorous from rock mineralite which is predicted to be at their limit at current rate of use world-wide in the next 50-100 yrs.
It will also provide organic bulk for mulch on tillage with better coverage for soil moisture retention and watering.
To make a run down of its ingredients in terms of processed raw materials, these are:
- Wafered bagasse rind to a 0.6 cm particle size or packing density with its given surface area (cm2/unit wt.).
- Physical steam explosion of the lignocellulose to expose the maximally substrate surface area.
- Use of a enzyme reactor to treat the substrate with lacasse enzyme (a known lignase of medium cost) to release phenolics as acid to provide the acidity and dissolve and hydrophobic NH3(g) vapours when the product is exposed to animal wastes (urine and faeces) as floor bedding in barn stalls. In this case, the phenolics are reacted with nitric acid to form nitrated picric acid (pKa=4.2) ideal for acidifying NH3(g) to ionic ammonium salts held in a particulate biolayer [NH4+(aq)] and which also discourages microbial build-up.
- A layered effect of wafered straw and fine-wafered solvent extracted (hexane + ligroin) rice bran as a general organic absorbent and for moisture or drying.
- The ground under layer is made of chipped wafered coconut shell of medium fineness.
With factory fabrication organic glue from collagen protein from fishmeal (e. g. scales, skin, bone) will be used to permeate the layered matrices with mixing and annealed by die roller, one layer after the other layer.
Rolled out tile sheeting are of the ff. thicknesses:
- Bottom Layer 1- Copra Base (1/2")
- Mid-Layer 2- Milled Phenolic-Acidified Bagasse (2 1/2")
- Top Layers 3 & 4- Milled Straw and Solvent-extracted Bran (5::1) (3/4")
- Parts Mixture - Layer 1 :: Layer 2a,b :: Layer 3 - 1 part :: 3 parts, 12 parts :: 5 parts
Standardized floor wafers or tile sheeting on floor spacing in a barn's animal stall are to be established based on square area, the soiled floor space stripped of old adsorbent bedding weekly by handler or by mechanical automation (or as needed), to be landfilled for composting* (note this is better than effectively composting chaff or sawdust) and then floors wet washed by power washing with biocide additive before relaying the floor space and animals replace in their stalls from a holding corral or space.
Proposed here also is a landscaping mulch that we can import here in North America to satisfy demand using materials from tropical climes with the ff. parameters as described:
- Additives: Rate of addition at 50ppm picric acid as binder for packing mulch bulk.
- Raw materials: Bagasse+bran+straw::crushed copra shell, 5::1.
- Colour/texture: Dark brown and organic in bulk.
- Properties: Provides organics and bulk to gardening soil tillage. Provides cover on soil tillage and better moisture retention.
- Claims: higher performance parameters than the competition based on cedar bark or coconut husk.
* For small to medium farms in developing agri-food industrial-based economies world-wide composting for farm tillage overburden will be organically recycled using composted barn waste + urea-N (additional) + phosphate recovered from aquatic botanical spp. Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth) and its dried petioles providing wide surface areas with separate source recovered human urine and then sun-dried with significantly important amounts of phosphate adsorbed on this material for composting (note that at the rate of use of phosphate mineral rock reserves we will run out in 50-100 yrs making it imperative for developing countries to consider such organic recycling methods) plus imported potash (K), the latter considered to be the most potent of the fertilizers or most critical to supply for N-P-K combination.
* In semi-arid saline agriculture, e. g. Middle East, this might also be possibly useful in cattle-raising together with water desalinization plants for human and utility supplies via reverse membrane osmosis in the hot dessert
There remains outstanding question in the process of mulching and compost-ing on the farm. These have been posed before regarding the ff. points:
1.There is the outstanding of use of enzyme technology to facilitate composting process in further attempts to improve the organic qualities of the mulch for gardening and compost for cropping and nutrient accessibility or availability in this type of grow matrices.
2. It may be that microbial-based technology is more on-farm friendly in terms of cost and ease of use by the farmer. Also it would be safe without any biocontrol issues. In adding probiotics/biologics planned to recondition the composting process we aim to speed up the rate of the process and improve nutrient availability to the plant.
3.It is also the aim of researchers to incorporate and study the effects of copra charcoal also named biochar to provide a neutral matrix and to facilitate the composting process to completion.
4. Additional ammendments to the composting biomass like plant food or fertilizer in the forms of urea-N, phosphorous and potash (N-P-K) and in what proportions depending on its design or need.
There is the need to study ammendments like organic "greens" or wet wastes from municipal collection, milling wood wastes and the time it takes to digest the substrate efficiently perhaps with interventive prebiotic enzyme addition or probiotics, feed crop residuals (FCR) farm wastes for recycling, the addition of agro-industrial byproduct wastes (AIBPs), municipal gathered garden wastes and "green" organic wastes including garden cuttings, and veggie wastes and coffee grinds (rather than wet leftovers from meals more apt for collection to fermentation biogas production).
More research is needed for waste management of organics from the home in the city or town and from on-farm output including animal wastes and soiled bedding material from barn or stalls to produce a desirable, reproducibly dependable matrix that is free of toxic wastes and can be reconditioned by supplements from fertilizer inputs for its nutrification. Waste handling should be semi-automated by mechanical means like all processes on-farm in modern terms to minimize labour costs as with feed postharvest preparation, storage and unloading for feed in order to speed up the process, allowing feeding reliable and efficient feeding of farmed livestock and in this case the proper planting of crops with minimal energy-based inputs including chemicals.