We have a family operated farm that produces 1000 acres of grain crops (corn, soybeans, and wheat) as well as sustaining a 300 sow farrow to finish hog operation. We market 4000+ head a year.
Before purchasing the paper chopper I used straw and purchased sawdust. Also I have picked up chopped paper from bands for several years. Leaves and yard waste from a nearby town were and are also used.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
One of the goals was to build soil fertility. This component is difficult to measure based on one year and is on-going. It does appear that long term results will be positive. I have also begun receiving sewage sludge from a nearby town of 9000 people to boost organic matter.
The main goal of stabilizing and deodorizing hog manure was accomplished by using all sorts of waste paper products (magazines, catalogues, telephone books, glossy advertising inserts, cardboard food packages, junk mail, etc.) as well as the traditional newspaper and office paper.
I purchased a Gossen paper chopper. It had been demonstrated previously on my farm. By purchasing a demonstrator model I was able to economize on the overall cost of the project. Two years ago I tried a Gossen bale chopper, but I wasn’t satisfied with the job it did. Six months later I tried another model that had been specifically modified by the factory to chop paper. It did a much better job and that is the one I bought.
The chopper works find (as it did when it was demonstrated to me). The bedding is better than straw, both for moisture and odor absorption. All the paper used in the project was given to me, so I saved money be eliminating all purchased chopped paper and reducing the amount of sawdust purchased.
The paper chopper gave me the ability to manufacture my own top quality bedding from materials that would otherwise have been garbage and added to the local landfill. The magazines, telephone books, catalogues, shoe boxes, cereal and other food boxes, junk mail, and other cardboard worked well as bedding when chopped. We also chop newspapers and glossy advertisements. I will be encouraging the county recycling center to start colleting these items so that they can be chopped into bedding. As for disadvantages, it does take time to chop the paper. If I could do the project over I would begin with a bigger chopper. The size that I purchased is not large enough to use on a commercial basis; it isn’t possible to process large truck loads of waste paper quickly. I am talking with the Waste Management, Inc. people in Lima, OH about setting me up commercially, i.e. paying me to take their waste paper products.
Due to the issue of disease control amongst the swine herd, large scale demonstrations were not scheduled. We did entertain small groups (no larger than 15 people) from local 4H and FFA clubs, as well as some church groups, neighbors, and suppliers such as feed men. Many of these groups provided contacts for new sources of waste paper.