Cotton Gin By-Products (CGB)/Dairy Manure Composting for Desert Farming

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2011: $13,336.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Western
State: New Mexico
Principal Investigator:


  • Agronomic: cotton, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: pasture fertility, pasture renovation, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling, application rate management
  • Education and Training: demonstration
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Soil Management: composting, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil chemistry, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    This project follows up on FW09-008 (The Use of Two Mesilla Valley, NM Agricultural By-products to Create a Needed Organic Soil Amendment). We used the experience from FW09-008, composting dairy manure and pecan shells, to propose composting dairy manure and cotton gin by-product (CGB). By cooperating with local dairy famers and the nearby Mesa Farmers Coop Gin, we will transport manure and CGB to my pistachio, bermuda pasture and sheep farm in Chaparral, NM. We will mix manure:CGB (3:2), aerate and water the mixture and manage the material to produce a final compost. Prior pilot studies done in 2010 allowed us to adjust the mixture and verify that proper nutrients would be present in the final compost. The compost will be applied at six tons/acre and 12 tons/acre to bermuda pasture after composting is completed. Bermuda leaf nutrient analyses will be performed on the two treatment groups and the untreated group. Attention will be paid to prevent nitrogen immobilization. The NMSU Ag Extension Service cooperated in the design and preparation of the proposal. Dr. Robert Flynn, a soil scientist at NMSU Ag Extension, is the technical advisor. Factsheets and a poster will be prepared and presented to local groups, the NM State Western SARE Conference and the NM Solid Waste Bureau biennial Compost Certification Workshop.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Extend the work of WSARE FW09-008, producing a compost of locally available material (dairy manure and CGB) to produce a needed organic soil amendment for desert farms.

    2. Encourage more widespread composting of CGB in southern N.M. This project may serve as an impetus to commercial development of this practice.

    3. Disseminate information about successful CGB composting practices in Australia and Spain to local and regional audiences in the U.S.

    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.