- Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial)
- Animals: poultry
- Crop Production: postharvest treatment
- Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer
- Farm Business Management: value added
The objective of this project is to produce environmentally friendly poultry bedding from warm season grass. The bedding will meet the standards established in SARE grant GNE16-127. It will utilize the best practices and techniques identified in SARE grant FNE17-865. It will strive to meet the needs of farmers as identified in SARE grant ONE18-320. Using fabricated and customized “off the shelf” items this project will design and construct a portable system to produce poultry bedding. In year one a team of farmers under the direction of a certified engineer will assemble the unit. When complete, seven warm season grass producers will run, test, and fine tune the unit. In year two, these farmers will share the machine and produce packaged bedding in environmentally friendly decomposable bags.
All the participants in this project are members of the Association of Warm Season Grass Producers. The Association has over 200 members. Project progress information will be distributed regularly to these members. The Association website with 600+ visitors a month will be utilized to share information. The project and the resulting bedding will be featured at all agriculture shows in which the Association participates including the Harrisburg Farm Show, the Bloomsburg Fair, the Keystone Farm Show, and multiple county fairs, throughout Pennsylvania.
The final prototype unit will be demonstrated to agricultural machine manufacturers. It is our hope someone will produce them for distribution.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project seeks to demonstrate standardized, efficient production of poultry bedding with warm season grasses. We will fabricate a trailer mounted machine system to produce and package bedding. Unprocessed warm season grass will enter the equipment at one end and drop into an environmentally friendly (paper) bag at the other end. The unit will be moved from farm to farm processing and packaging poultry bedding. The machine will be demonstrated at agriculture events. The prototype unit will be demonstrated to manufacturing firms encouraging them to replicate production. We propose to meet the standards cited in GNE 16-127. We also propose a mechanized process for filling the paper sacks to thirty pounds. Poultry farmers will benefit from a more eco-friendly yet cost effective bedding material, while warm season grass farms can produce greater revenue than other crops for smaller, market garden farms.