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Low Power Composter
Big batches of compost can be produced at low operating costs with the new X-Act Composting System. The big-as-you-need rotating batch processor takes in bio-sludge, manure, and even livestock carcasses. In 3 to 5 days, it turns out sweet smelling, high value and weed seed-free compost. It even reduces pathogens to near zero, and it does so with as little as a 5 hp motor.
"We had been in the manure handling business and started developing this about 7 years ago," says Glen McConkey.
The Composters vary from 6-ft. diameter, 24-ft. long to 10-ft. diameter with a length of 128 ft. With a 10 by 32-ft. system already in place on a New York dairy, and more systems on order, McConkey is confident his composter is catching on.
Early interest was from dairy farmers, but poultry producers and city sewage handling departments are also studying the X-Act Systems. One attraction is the impact shown on pathogens. In tests, fecal coliform pathogens were reduced from an estimated 5,190 to only 20, well below the U.S. EPA standard of 1,000 for pathogen -free products.
"We are getting calls from all over," says McConkey. "We have a mortality composting system that the Chinese government is very interested in. It has a grinder and can handle up to 2,000-lb. animals."
Systems can be built as long as needed. McConkey says a 6 by 24-ft. unit would be sized about right for a milking herd of 125 cows plus dry cows and replacement stock. He admits it might be hard to cost-justify a unit for smaller herds, but he is getting interest anyway.
"I had a guy with 110 cows justifying it to me," McConkey says. "He has a nursery that wants the compost, and he doesn't want to fight the rain and snow making it outside. He sees it as starting to make sense."
Poultry producers are interested, he says, because the system can compost feathers, manure and litter to a dry state free of pathogens. At that point, it can be returned to poultry buildings as dry, fresh litter, marketed as compost to the landscape/nursery markets, or spread on nearby fields.
X-Act composting systems aren't cheap. Prices range from $125,000 on up depending on size. Because so many components are standard no matter what the size, there is great economy in scale. The larger the unit, the faster the payback.
"If you put a $10/cu. yard value on the compost, a decent size dairy will earn back the cost of the system in four years, if not the interest," says McConkey. "We are seeing people pay up to $35/cu. yd. for composted manure."
McConkey points out that a 10 by 32-ft. system weighs 50 tons and turns 35 tons of material every 6 minutes. It is engineered so a loaded system can stop dead and start back up without a problem.
"We've stopped the 10 by 32-ft. system when it was full, and the 10 hp motor started back up easily," says McConkey.
He says the systems are built extra heavy duty to take the 24/7, 365-day-a-year operation that is expected from them.
"All bearings are checked every 6 months, and the industrial drive unit has lifetime lubrication," he says. "It is all heavy duty."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, X-Act Systems, Glenn McConkey, 340 Sidney Street, Trenton, Ontario, Canada K8V 5R6 (ph 613 399-5686; xactsystems@on.aibn. com).

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2006 - Volume #30, Issue #4