Pro-Act Biotech




Two Routes to Fertilizer Savings


Warren, RI, September 24, 2008 --- Fertilizer costs are averaging $900 per ton, motivating farmers to find more economical ways of feeding their crops. Manure has become key in this quest, but average cow manure alone isn’t enough to meet the farms’ fertilizer needs. Farmers have two main routes to improve the fertilizer value of their manure, reducing or even eliminating their chemical fertilizer purchase.

Anaerobic digester technology is one route to improved fertilizer from manure. In addition, digesters also control odor and convert the complex carbohydrates in the manure to carbon dioxide and methane. The methane can be collected and burned to generate electricity for the farm and/or sold for a profit. A drawback for some farms is the start-up cost of most digesters and the manpower needed to maintain them. Often government subsidies are needed to get the digester up and running.

A more economical means to the same result is modified anaerobic digestion that uses microbes to enhance the natural biological process. Companies such as Pro-Act Biotech have been saving their customers a lot of money on fertilizer, reducing lagoon odors and solids and facilitating the collection of methane with a simple, biological process that’s in use across the country.

Farmers have used manure as fertilizer for centuries. Environmental concerns have resulted in the establishment of comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMP) across the country. Under the CNMP, many farms face phosphorus limitations and have land with too much phosphorus. Manure lagoons not treated in any way have a higher amount of phosphorus in their top water, as well as solids, limiting the amount they can irrigate and the ease of manure application. Untreated manure contains six to ten pounds of phosphorus per thousand gallons. By comparison, treated manure contains less than two pounds per thousand gallons. The treatment allows farms to irrigate at least three times as much, supplying their crops nitrogen needs with manure water without the risk of burning their crops. Not only can the farms use more of the top water, the treated manure has a larger percentage of inorganic nitrogen which is more easily used by plants.

“Whether it’s through digester technology or the modified anaerobic treatment, farms can cut their commercial fertilizer use by half or more,” explains Bill Campion, president of Pro-Act Biotech. “With the increasing price of fertilizer, this has become an important goal for our farms today.”


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