Farmers favorite cow manure compost Made with cow-light compost and odorless

Farm cooperation as a solution to dairy farmers’ problems in the suburbs

The Chichibu area in western Saitama prefecture has many slopes and is considered geologically unsuitable for large-scale agriculture. From the train window of the bus ride from Seibu Chichibu Station to “Farm Yoshida” in Ogano town, I could see the scattered plastic houses and small fields, but I couldn’t see. large-scale agricultural land.
I got off the bus and headed to Yoshida Ranch, but I couldn’t find anything that looked like a farm with scattered private houses. As I was about to pass by, the main character, Yasuhiro Yoshida, greeted me in front of the farm’s landmark, “Log House Chichibu Road”.

Mr. Yasuhiro Yoshida: Outside of dairy industry, actively participates in local activities

Yoshida Farm was located along a stream a step from the street, and although it was hot on the day of the interview, the barn was very cool with a breeze. And surprisingly, I could barely sense the stench found only in the so-called cow dung. “Many people don’t realize there is a farm here,” said Mr. Yoshida.
We interviewed Yoshida Farm’s second farm. This was a ranch that opened up when Mr. Yoshida, the third generation of a dairy farmer, became independent from his father. The entire Yoshida farm has 70 dairy cows (including 50 cows and 20 breeding cows) and 50 cows for finishing.

Immediately after the war, Yoshida’s grandfather started raising dairy cows with a dairy cow, and the number gradually increased with his father’s generation. Mr. Yoshida started farming in 1987. Since then, cow manure is difficult to handle. A certain number of animals are needed to make a living from dairy farming, but the amount of manure produced increases. However, in Chichibu, where it was difficult to expand arable land, it was not possible to expand the pasture to support livestock and use it as fertilizer, so they decided to compost and sell it to the people. the farmer farming around. This situation is not limited to the Yoshida Farm, and the breeders in the outskirts of the city cooperate with cultivation. However, there is still no end to the number of livestock raising households giving up their jobs due to many reasons.
“Fifty years ago, there were about 140 livestock farms around here, but now there are eight. I was told,” I bought from Farm XX until last year, but I was out of business, So I’ll be ordering compost from this year. “There are many” (Mr. Yoshida)

Ecological feed is also an area circulating

Of course, feeding the cow is also important for the cow to make compost. Of course, the main feed is bought grass, but about 10 to 20% use feed residue.

A variety of eco-foods such as pineapple peels from a food cutting mill (top left), plum wine (top right), okara (bottom left) and whiskey residue (top left) lower right)

These food residues are mainly from food factories in Saitama Prefecture. It is usually collected and composted by industrial waste companies, but this is also costly on the factory side. So a livestock farmer like Mr. Yoshida asked, “Would you like to pick it up?”
“I’m paying a small amount, but it’s cheaper than the ready-made feed so it saves money. Of course, I’m checking if it’s okay to feed the cow before picking it up. Cost is important, but baby. It’s hard if you get sick from feeding things that don’t fit your physiology. “(Mr. Yoshida)

Meet the needs of growers

Mr. Yoshida places the highest priority on composting to “meet the needs of local growers.” However, stool out every day. Can such compost be convenient for farmers to cultivate?
“It’s better to bring compost when you don’t need it for this reason and let it be stored by the farmer. It’s better to take it away when you need it. Most of us are repeaters, So every farmer I’m doing it by recalculating his schedule, “said Yoshida.
That’s not all. Farmers have many different needs. “Some people use our chicken manure, pig manure as well as cow manure we compost, some say it’s better not to ripen, there is also an opinion that the ingredients should be mixed with compost. It’s hard to meet such requirements, ”he says, fulfilling such requirements and leading to frequent purchases.

Compost from the Yoshida Farm

However, the compost you make must be stored somewhere. So Mr. Yoshida thought of the birth of “compost burning”. Let me show you how to compost.

Cow manure mixed with barn filler … transferred to a treatment facility for composting, shavings and sugarcane as a secondary material trimmed and mixed with crumbs for fermentation.

Cow manure mixed with ingredients

Left side is scrap and on the right side trimmed debris. Also used to control the water content of compost.

Periodically switch back and forth to promote fermentation.

When fermentation begins, heat is generated and the fermentation continues.

Steam from compost

After completing the primary fermentation, auxiliary materials such as shavings are mixed to adjust the water content, returned to the barn, and piled up in the Freeburn barn to make beds for cows. This is called “compost back”. As the cows step on it, further fermentation progresses.

Cows spend time in bed filled with compost

While compost is stored, it is used as a litter for cows, and if necessary, it is removed from here and delivered to the required farmers.
In the summer, when the demand for compost is not much, the height of compost is over 1.5m. However, the cow seems comfortable because it is easier to get hit by the wind of a ceiling-mounted fan.
On the other hand, during winter, the heat of compost fermentation acts like heating the floors, and the cow does not freeze even in the cold mountainous regions of Chichibu. Yoshida laughed: “It’s hard to wake up in winter. I really don’t know if I should ask the cow or not, but I think it’s good.”

Trial and error until composting method is completed

The techniques we have seen so far look simple, but burning compost is really difficult. It is said that Mr. Yoshida also tried and wronged a lot to be able to make high quality compost without bad smell. “I have tried many different ways to speed up the fermentation of the compost, but I think the most effective is to bring the native bacteria into the soil under the bamboo groves. The stench decreased and the barn temperature also decreased. We are adjusting viable microbial foods to consider indigenous bacteria, etc. “(Mr. Yoshida)

Mr. Yoshida’s composting does not use conventional composting facilities, and the costs are significantly reduced. The current approach is just one way to balance the area.
“It is possible to increase the number of animals and increase the scale, but that will increase the cost of installing the compost equipment. If the amount of compost is high then the farmer will have difficulty. I can do it alone with the regulation. current tissue And it’s just right “(Mr. Yoshida)

Finished incubation

The voice of the farmer who buys compost

In this way, Mr. Yoshida produces about 500 tons of compost annually. It sells for 7,000 yen for a 2-ton truck and all are supplied to local farmers.

Yoshio Moriya, Ogano cucumber producer

Yoshio Moriya, a cucumber maker, a Chichibu specialty, has been using Yoshida’s compost for the past few years. Moriya only uses compost once in winter, but it is often preferred because it is smooth and difficult to cure, easy to sow in the field.
Because Chichibu was originally a region with little fertile land, it is said that his father, also a cucumber farmer, taught him the importance of tillage. “We make good fruit by putting strong compost into the synthetic structure and creating good root systems. What our ancestors did was right,” Moriya said.

There are many viticulture farmers in Chichibu. Among them, we spoke with Mr. Hisashi Yagi of Yagi Tourism Farm, who uses Mr. Yoshida’s compost.
“I want to sprinkle as much as I want because this is a good compost, but because it takes time, I keep it at about 6 to 8 tons a year,” said Yagi. I hope Mr. Yoshida will sprinkle it, ”Mr. Yagi said,“ It will be expensive. “Mr. Yoshida.

Vines of the Yagi tourist farm. In early October, it bore fruit

In fact, because there is no manual spreader to spread the fertilizer, it takes time and effort to spread fertilizer, and fertility has decreased in many fields. Mr. Yoshida did not even spray because of the emphasis on costs, but it is said that many livestock farmers nationwide also practice the spraying.

Compost is indispensable for the local agricultural circulation

Livestock farmers across the country, such as Farm Yoshida, are in desperate need of providing compost to local farmers to improve soil fertility. On the other hand, about 700 dairy farmers have been shut down for a year since 2017 (* 1). One of the reasons why businesses have to shut down is due to the lack of labor, making the production of animal feed and manure treatment difficult to self-sufficient.

A milk model that offers various benefits in the local production cycle will continue to be needed.
Mr. Yoshida said, “If I quit my job, local farmers will be in trouble. I want to pass on this style to the next person so that I can always provide compost at all times.”

* 1 Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (as of February 1, 2019)

There are many animals on Mr. Yoshida’s farm, saying: “I want to be an animal lover at all times”.