Dollars and Sense: Compost For Bedding, Sales

October 28, 2015 09:45 AM
Dollars and Sense: Compost For Bedding, Sales


Shelly Dickinson
Loveland, Colo.

Mountain View Farm is a fourth-generation dairy farm, milking 2,500 cows with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains.


For so many dairy farmers, the environment is very important. We at Mountain View Farm are no different. The land sustains us by providing a home for our family, as well as feed and shelter for our cows. We have been raised to be good stewards of the land.

Here we try to recycle as much as we can. We have open freestall lots, and we push and scrape all our pens two times a day - leaving us with a lot of wet slurry in our pits.  To help make this a little bit easier to move, we let our neighbors and large landscaping companies dump their yard waste at our facility.

We also will bring in wood chips from companies who are helping clean up the parks around us. When we add our manure to all of this, we create a great compost. We lay it out, and a company we partner with will turn it, work it and sell it. We also fill and bed our free stalls with the compost a couple times a month or when needed.

Additionally, we compost all of our dead animals by covering them with wet manure and used straw or cornstalks. They will break down organically and will eventually end up in a compost row.

All of our waste water ends up in our lagoons at the bottom of our property. We pump it over and run through our sprinkler on our families’ alfalfa ground next door. With luck, our lagoons are pumped down by the end of harvest time.

dickinson_pricesWe work closely with Paragon Consulting to stay in good standing with our CAFO permit. Paragon helps us follow all the guidelines and requirements and all other relevant regulations.

When there is a complaint - when your farm is in the middle of suburbia, complaints will come eventually - Paragon will help us work directly with the state to determine the best way to proceed. We sample all farm ground every six months to make sure our application rate is within range and sample all of our lagoons once a year.

Dairy farmers take great pride in being stewards of the land, and I’m proud of our accomplishments.  This will only be more important as the population grows, and dairy farmers can lead the way on sustainability for everyone.

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