By Bill Gergen, Senior Editor
When market gardener Joe Calvert went looking for a compost
turner a few years ago, he found the price tag of more than $16,000 for a small
machine hard to justify. So he asked his brother Paul to help him build a 3-pt.
mounted, pto-driven unit. They went to Paul’s shop and welded together a bunch
of old parts, coming up with a simple machine which Joe used to produce about
75 tons of compost that first season.
After Paul saw how well the machine worked, he asked his friend, Tim Snow, to help him manufacture and market a compost turner affordable for a typical market gardener. After testing 3 different prototypes over 2 years, they recently introduced the Eco-Mixer 84.
“It’s a cost effective way of turning compost to improve the organic matter in your soil,” says Paul. “It sells for $10,000, with free shipping anywhere in the lower 48 states. That’s about 40 percent less than any other commercially available machine on the market of comparable size.”
machine is made from hot-dipped galvanized steel to resist corrosive manure,
and will mix 75 tons in 20 to 30 min. depending on how dense the compost is,
says Paul. “A tractor with as little as 16 hp. will handle the EcoMixer 84, as
long as it has a hydrostatic transmission so you can drive very slowly.”
compost turner can handle a windrow of manure/compost about 3 ft. high by 6 to
7 ft. wide. It’s equipped with a tubular agitator shaft fitted with 9-in.
paddles, which rotate against the direction of travel at about 180 rpm’s. A
long, double-jointed pto shaft connects to a gearbox that drives the shaft. A
pair of side guards keep the compost in a clean row.
machine comes with an overhead tongue that couples to a ball hitch welded to a
3-pt. mounted frame. The tongue is offset to one side, allowing the operator to
drive beside the compost windrow.
“The tongue manually pivots to the center, allowing the machine to track directly behind the tractor for transport,” says Paul. “It attaches to the machine’s frame with 3 bolts. You remove the two outside bolts and then push the tongue in and bolt it back down,” says Paul.
The tongue can also be adjusted for height by changing the position of a pin.
gravity-flow water application kit (optional) is used to add water while
turning the windrow. The kit comes with a tank-mounting rack (tank not
supplied) and a hose with a series of holes in it. “To keep the cost down we
recommend using an inexpensive used IBC tank with a capacity of about 275 gal.,”
says Snow. “However, the tank-mounting rack can be adjusted to hold almost any
water application kit sells for $600.
Paul says the EcoMixer can also be used to process manure on livestock farms. “It’s a big enough machine that you can mix 75 tons in 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how dense the compost is.”
You can watch the EcoMixer in action at farmshow.com.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tim Snow, 292 Arkavalley Rd., Greenbrier, Ark. 72058 (ph 501 253-3036; Bluebirds145@gmail.com; www.ecomixercompostturner.com).