Eye on Agriculture: Bison Compost

Any rancher knows that growing, feeding and keeping hundreds, even thousands of hooved animals is a dirty job. In this week’s Eye on Agriculture, Melinda Bolton shows us how one ranch is making the most of the dirtiest part of the job. Leeds is home to the single largest herd of bison in the state of North Dakota.

(Tom Duenow, President Bison Compost LLP) “They have about 25 hundred animals, on average.” Tom Duenow says 25 hundred head of Bison leave behind about 25 million pounds of manure each year.

What might stink to others, smells like a business opportunity to the families who run Bison Compost. (Tom Duenow, President Bison Compost LLP) “Today we sold our fist commercial load.” Soon this grade A guano, will be available to the public through Gravel Products in Minot. First it makes its way into windrows; 12 feet wide by 8 feet high. Every few weeks, the rows are turned.

(Tom Duenow, President Bison Compost LLP) “That compost turner actually takes the outside of the wind row, pulls it in and the bottom side of the wind row and pulls it up and over the back side which gives you oxygenation of the wind row, so that the microbiological action can really take hold and produce that heat that’s needed to create manure into.” That heat, can be seen as steam coming off the wind rows as they are turned. It also helps the piles to self-pasteurize, creating a sterile product, void of weed seeds. That’s part of the reason Duenow says their compost is premium.

(Tom Duenow, President Bison Compost LLP) “The animals have no antibiotics and no hormones. The salts are just a little bit different in the testing of the compost which the plants seem to like.” If you aren’t into commercial farming, you can purchase No. 2 Brew for smaller scale growing. (Tom Duenow, President Bison Compost LLP) “We pack it in actual tea bags.”
He says it’s as simple as letting the tea steep overnight in your watering can with a gallon of water and feeding your plants as usual.

When their next high season rolls around in the spring, Bison Compost will be growing and spreading or maybe that’s spreading and growing – all over the Minot region.

See original story and watch the video on KX News.