Farm-Generated Fertility: Vermicomposting Horse Manure and Vegetable Wastes

Project Overview

FNC15-988
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2015: $7,301.00
Projected End Date: 08/15/2017
Grant Recipient: Spirit of Walloon Market Garden
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Rachel Cross
Spirit of Walloon

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Miscellaneous: earthworms

Practices

  • Soil Management: composting, earthworms

    Proposal summary:

    We propose to create a vermicomposting system for our vegetable farm. For feedstocks, we will utilize horse
    manure, a local waste product from numerous stables, and vegetable residues generated by the farm. We will
    build two shelters to trial two unique vermicomposting systems: the wedge method and the bin method.

    In Emmet and Charleviox counties alone, there are nearly 10 commercial horse stables. This equates to
    thousands of yards of manure in the area. In 2014, Spirit of Walloon collected and composted 150 yards of horse
    manure in thermophilic windrows. This was only a fraction of the available manure; the volume of manure that
    was offered to us was much greater than the space and time we had to manage it. This led us to believe that we
    need to create a replicable, high-efficacy composting system that we and other farmers in the area could use to
    bring high-quality nutrients to our farms. To that end, we propose to implement an on-farm vermicomposting
    system that can process both manure in quantity and farm-created vegetable matter. We aim to trial two methods
    of production: the wedge system and the bin system.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Create a replicable, high-efficacy composting system that we and other farmers in the area can use to
      bring high-quality nutrients to our farms. 
    2. Implement an on-farm vermicomposting system that can process both manure in quantity and farm-created vegetable matter. 
    3. Make use of locally available “waste” materials such as horse manure in an environmentally-sound way.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.