Some Specialized Equipment For Composting Manure

Editor's note: Dennis Demrael of the Small Farm Energy Project in Harrington, Nebraska has supplied much of the information used in this report.

Nebraska is a state that can be said to be blessed—or plagued—with a variety of organic wastes. Its large communities are burdened with paunch manure from slaughterhouses as well as sewage sludge and garbage. Huge piles of dry manure in feedlots or other animal confinement facilities can mean serious dust and odor problems.

In a report in Farm, Ranch, and Home Quarterly (Fall, 1977), agronomy professor Leon Chesnin of the University of Nebraska foresees solutions in the near future. His report is entitled "Composting Converts Waste into Valuable Resources," he writes that "there is a way all of these wastes can be converted into valuable resources—composting." One reason for his optimism is that specialized equipment has been developed to handle large volumes of wastes. Some of this equipment is now in use at the University's Mead Field Station.

The Roscoe Brown Corporation of Lenox, Iowa has supplied a Brown Bear integral auger tractor to the University of Nebraska. The unit is used in composting feedlot manure, paunch manure, sewage sludge, and crop residues.

According to the manufacturer, the Brown Bear can mechanically aerate 3,000 cubic yards per hour—working directly into and parallel with the windrow. In describing the machine's auger speed, the company notes: "By simply changing sprockets, the speed of the auger can be increased to 180 revolutions per minute or more for more aggressive boiling action in the organic waste." The Brown Bear is manufactured by the Roscoe Brown Corporation, P.O. Box 48, Lenox, Iowa 50851.

Edgar Wuebben of Cedar County, Nebraska had a Compost Field Day at his farm last August to demonstrate his home-built compost-turning device. The turner is built from discarded materials.

Brown Bear Composting Machines

including a gearbox, tool bar, and silage-unloading auger. The auger is used to aerate, break up, and mix the pile. Afterwards, a tractor loader is used to repile the materials.

Wuebben has been keeping daily records of the temperatures within the compost at 50 different points along Iris 500-foot windrow. The records have indicated that the temperatures of the pile rose substantially after each turning and also following rains that occurred between turnings. The increase; in temperature following a rain would indicate dm the moisture content of the compost wasn't adequate for optimum bacteria! activity.

Manure Pile Omaha Stockyard
A sample of the finished compost was taken to an Omaha laboratory to be analyzed with the

following results:



Nitrogen (N)


Phosphorous (P,0;)


Potassium (KaO)


Organic Matter by





Total Organic Carbon

8-5 %

Carbon-Nitrogen Ratio


A tractor-powered, turning machine built by the Mehlal Machine and Manufacturing Company of Freeman, South Dakota is used to turn compost at tire rate of -100 to 500 tons per hour. T his unit is used by Town and Country Park, Inc., in Sioux Kails, South Dakota, which processes sewage sludge, paunch manure, and stockyard pen wastes.

At the McGiniey-Schil/ feed lot in Brule, Nebraska, a specially designed machine aerates the tvindrowed manure. The compost is made under contract with the Colorado-Nebraska Compost Corporation owned by J ark E. Martin and Lester R. Kuhlman of Sterling, Colorado. The machine, known as the Scarab, was developed by Fletcher Sims of Canyon, Texas.

"About 20 tons of raw manure to the the acre would have to be applied to equal the benefits derived from two tons of compost," says Martin.

"It's turned our feedlot waste problem around. Instead of manure being a nuisance, it's a valuable asset," Schliz was quoted in an Omaha World-Herald article.


The Cobey Composter

An Ohio feedlot lias effectively used the Cobey Composter for processing animal wastes. This unit is a diesel-powered, self-propelled machine which straddles the windrows.

Manufactured by: Eagle Crusher Co., Inc. Rt. 2, Box 72 Galion, OH 44833

The Easy Over Composter

Another composting machine was developed by the late Elton Schaeffer of Menno, South

Dakota "out of his own necessity." The machine lias knives similar to those of a garden tiller, for lifting material up and back into the windrow. One-half of a compost windrow is taken with each pass of the maehiuc, compared to the full windrow taken by larger machines. The operation, according to Schaeffer, is best accomplished with a hydrostatic-drive tractor for slower ground speed.

Schaelfer's machine now has the commercial name of Easy Over, and is distributed by:

General Corp. 322 S. 16th St. Philadelphia, PA 19102

The compost turning machine used on the Ellon Hchaeffer farm at Menno, S.D., for composting manures brought to the farm from the local livestock sales barn.

The compost turning machine used on the Ellon Hchaeffer farm at Menno, S.D., for composting manures brought to the farm from the local livestock sales barn.

Schaeffer's composting machine has tines similar to those of a garden tiller, to lift material up and hack into the windrow.

Accelerator Compost Bin

This 34 by 36 incfi circular bin is macle up of green, rigid, polyvinyl chloride interlocking and sliding panels. Waste is added through the top of the bin which has an inflatable cover to repel rain. Ventilating holes in the panels allow for ventilation while helping to hold in heat and insulate.

P.O. Box 237, 58 Buttonwood St.

New Hope, PA 18938


Dept. HB957, P.O. Box 12068 Omaha, NE 68112

Rotocrop Accelerator Rotocrop (U.S.A.), Int.
Compostumbler Gardening Naturally

The Earthmaker and Compostumbler

This compost bin is arranged on a stand which allows the drum to be rolled in place. It holds more than 1-1 bushels of raw, organic waste and retains liquids,

Gardening Naturally Rt. 102

Stock bridge, MA 01262

Garden Way Mfg. Co., Inc. 102nd St. & Ninth Ave. Troy, NY 12180

Global Services, Inc.

P.O. Box I85-A, College Park

Lewisburg, PA 17837

Hand-Operated Mini-Composter

The steel blades of this composter grind vegetable refuse, bush clippings, vines, roots, and weeds up to a % inch diameter. Measuring 15 by 101/; by 8 inches, it clamps to any flat surface. The cast-iron cutter is manually operated.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. Farm and Ranch Catalog


Dept. 123, 16129 Runnymede VanNuys, CA 91406

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