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Compo-Stages Manitoba Services Co-Op Demonstrates Advantages Of Composting Manure

co-operator staff / st. pierre-jolys

Farmers saw Manitoba s first industrial-sized manure windrow turner in operation last week.

Next month they can hear more about joining the new cooperative that owns it.

The Compo-Stages Manitoba Services Co-op, an agricultural composting co-operative and a first for both Manitoba and Canada, conducted demonstrations on six farms around southeastern Manitoba last week with their new Backhus 17.50 windrow turner, which is known for improved aeration during composting.

Interim directors of the newly incorporated co-op say the manure-composting service for livestock producers will benefit farmers bottom lines, while providing access to a rich source of locally produced organic fertilizer and reducing odour irritants.

This is something that farmers in our area were looking for, for a long time, said Guillaume Nayet, who farms near Aubigney and is part owner of CW dairy farm in Steinbach.

A key benefit is showing farmers how composted manure reduces time and expense otherwise spent hauling manure, said Nayet.

Once it s composted, the volume of the manure is reduced by 50 to 60 per cent, he said. That s a huge advantage.

Nayet is one of three interim directors of the co-op, which incorporated in August.

La Broquerie farmer and interim director Gerry Dub ran a custom composting business as a one-man operation until he began pursuing the co-op model alongside other farmers in the region.

The co-op offers a multi-pronged solution to agricultural manure management while expanding farmers good environmental practices, Dub said.

Other benefits that will come from having capacity to produce large volumes of compost is that it will provide a source of locally produced organic fertilizer, which in turn can help improve soil porosity and reduce erosion and run-off.

Composted manure also reduces odours, and can contribute to lowered greenhouse gas emissions by helping soil retain CO2 as well as amounts generated by uncomposted manure piles.

Used widely in Europe the German-engineered windrow turner, Backhus 17.50 model, can turn five-metre-high windrows of manure. The machine has a six-cylinder engine and an output of 280 hp. The machine was transported around southeastern Manitoba last week to demonstrate how it works.

We don t have that many options for organic fertilizer. This would be something that would be close by.

The co-op will hold its first meeting in November at which time farmers can get more details about joining the cooperative, including associated costs.

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This is the future. It s an incredibly interesting idea, said Claude Lussier, reeve of the RM of La Broquerie, one of four municipalities under the auspices of CDEM (Economic Development Council for Manitoba Biligual Communities) contributing financial backing to jump-start the co-operative.

Notre Dame de Lourdes, De Salaberry and St. Pierre are also supporters. The provincial government also contributed $180,000 towards purchase of the $350,000 windrow turner.

The entire initiative emerged from data collected between the municipalities on greenhouse gas emissions while participating in the provincially funded Community Led Emissions Reductions (CLER) program.

The co-op s launch was timed to coincide with both Co-op Week and Organic Week celebrated last week across the country.

This has potential to jump-start more organic farming in Manitoba, said St. Pierre farmer Murielle Bugera following the demonstration. Bugera said she and her husband have eyed a transition to organic farming, but lack of readily available organic inputs is a key consideration.

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WHAT SERVICES WILL CMSC OFFER?

Interim directors of the newly incorporated Compo-Stages Manitoba Services Co-op include (l to r) Claude Moquin, assistant CAO for La Broquerie, Gerry Dub, La Broquerie farmer and Aubigney-area farmer and dairy farm owner Guillaume Nayet.photos: lorraine stevenson

Composting windrow turning with the CMSC compost turner.

A CMSC consultant will assist members to get good results.

Members receive a discount on services.

The CMSC will collaborate with members to compost manure they generate from their operations before spreading it on their own fields.

More information is available at: Compo-Stages Services Co-op, 75 Main Street, La Broquerie, Man. (204) 424-9014.

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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