February 2, 2017, Fair Oaks, IN – Midwestern BioAg, a Wisconsin-based company, recently unveiled a new manufacturing process that transforms dairy manure into a uniform, dry fertilizer granule that can be efficiently stored, transported and spread.
Referred to as TerraNu Nutrient Technology, the process infuses essential crop nutrients into a manure base to give more farms access to the biological benefits of manure. Products made through this process offer precision application – each granule has the same guaranteed analysis, allowing for even in-field distribution.
The fertilizers will deliver a full suite of crop nutrients, including micronutrients. The base material is made primarily of decomposed microbes from the digested manure. This biological matter is food for living soil microbes when the product is used as fertilizer; it draws nutrients into the soil life food chain, helping make them more plant available.
"This helps close a nutrient gap in farming," said Anthony Michaels, CEO of Midwestern BioAg. "A typical farm once had both crops and livestock. Today, with necessary specialization, there is a disconnect. The crops are in one place, the cows in another, and many farms miss out on the benefits of manure. We can fix that."
The new manufacturing facility is located at Indiana-based Fair Oaks Farms, a collection of 12 dairies with herds totaling 36,000 milking cows. Midwestern BioAg committed to the location largely because of the farms' prior investments to maximize nutrient use and reduce environmental impacts.
"This is how it should work," said Mike McCloskey, co-founder of Fair Oaks Farms. "We don't like seeing anything go to waste. Our manure powers parts of the farm, runs a fleet of trucks and feeds many of our own crops. Now, it can provide essential nutrients for other farms. Midwestern BioAg is building on our earlier work."
The technology can help address nutrient loading challenges faced by some dairies. Because it is cumbersome and expensive to transport, cow manure rarely travels more than 10 miles from dairies. This can lead to over-application and associated water quality problems. TerraNu Nutrient Technology facilitates transfer of excess nutrients to distant farms, thereby reducing impacts to local water supplies.
Production is expected to begin in March. Three products will be available this spring: TerraNu MicroPack, TerraNu Calcium and TerraNu Ignite.