As with other aspects of farming, automation is finding its way into the process of managing mortalities.
Dutch Industries, based at Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan, has designed what looks like a big top-heavy green box that it calls the “BioMulcher.” The unit heats, grinds and mixes, composting up to 2,500 pounds of material per batch.
“After a period of 3 to 5 days, it spits out a product that is basically like dirt,” says sales manager Stephen Denzin in the video below, filmed at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina last month.
As he explains, the BioMulcher is designed to contain the entire conversion process, producing a consistent nutrient-rich fertilizer in a regulated environment, even in cold weather.
“It’s basically automating something that was very manual in the past,” he explains. “If you were to do a static compost pile, it takes a very long time. It takes equipment to turn it, and if you don’t do it right, it just doesn’t work.”
Deceased animals and a carbon source, such as straw or wood chips, are dumped into the top using a loader. Two 4,500 watt electric heaters maintain the appropriate temperatures for microbial activity, also deactivating viruses and bacteria.
Denzin says they find that fine carbon sources work the best.
“What we normally use here in Saskatchewan is chopped wheat straw. The finer the better, the nicer the product that comes out of it, and easier to mix with your manure or however you’re going to use the product in the future,” he says.
Depending on livestock type — whether it’s being used by a cattle feedlot or a chicken barn — the BioMulcher can operate on in-out or continuous batch basis.