WAUNAKEE, Wis (WMTV) - The late harvest and odd weather this fall and early winter presented challenges to farmers, including possibly running out of storage for manure.
Jeff Endres owns Endres Berryridge Farms along with his two brothers in Waunakee. He said when manure is taken out in the field in frozen conditions, it can ultimately end up in the water instead of the ground.
“Liquid manure this fall was a challenge with the wet October and the early freeze up. There was a lot of concerns whether we were to be able to get it into the field and get it injected into the soil the way we prefer to do it,” he said.
He said, rather than take it the field, they are composting it. Endres said manure is normally taken to the field in a raw form, but when it’s composted it goes through a 10 week process.
The process works by putting the manure in a pyramid shape, turning it every week and getting it to the ideal temperature so it can break down.
”Rather than taking it to the field, maybe in a vulnerable time where it could potentially move, we are limiting that by processing it and then we can stack this material after it’s process through the winter months,” he said.
He said it is a process that can be costly, but he hopes other farmers can jump on board. Endres is also the president ofYahara Pride Farms , a farmer-led non-profit working to improve soil and water quality. He said they have piloted this method with nine other area farms.
Endres said they are always looking for ways to grow.
“This is something that I think we have to turn our head to and what can we do with the waste stream to make that better and potentially make it into something that is hopefully more profitable for the farm in the long run,” he said.