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He Uses Drywall Scraps To Fertilize Fields
Neighbors sometimes wonder what's going on when they see construction trucks pull into Don and Lloyd Klein's farmyard and dump loads of drywall scraps from area building projects.
The two Sun Prairie, Wis., farmers say the gypsum in the waste sheetrock - which would otherwise go into a landfill - beefs up the ph in their fields. Before putting it on fields, they mix it into compost piles.
For several years, the Kleins have composted manure from their dairy and steer herd by mixing it with leaves brought to them by the nearby city of Madison. They've also mixed in various other ingredients with the compost over the years including egg shells from a nearby processing plant.
The men lay their compost out in wind-rows that they stir up with a powered corn-posting machine that mounts off to the side of a tractor. High heat in the piles and the regular mixing breaks down the drywall scraps so that the final composted product looks like rich black dirt which they then spread on fields. The men use no herbicides or insecticides. Weed seeds are killed by high heat in the compost piles. Further weed control is achieved with flame weeders that burn off the weeds. They generally run the flame weeder through corn fields twice during the growing season. Yields last year were over 200 bu. an acre. (Gloria Hafemeister in Wisconsin State Farmer)

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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #4