CQ Compost’s Matthew Barnes took to the microphone at the AgForce Ag Landscape in CQ Industry Tour in Emerald last week, and was happy to give a rundown on the business he operates.
Mr Barnes took attendees of the full-day tour around the CQ Compost grounds, and outlined not only the operation, but the benefits farmers could gain from utilising compost on their fields before planting cotton or grain crops.
With a staff of seven and 200ha of irrigated farming land, Mr Barnes said the business uses crop stubble, pallets from mines, and a variety of other sources to produce compost.
He said the biggest challenge on-farm compost operations faced was water.
“It’s incredible, the amount of water you need,” he said.
He said trials have been undertaken on the property to show the effect of laying compost in fields before planting, and said while he hadn’t yet looked at the numbers, the results “have been pretty encouraging”.
A big part of the compost process is quality checking - and he said in the past five years the tests have become more and more thorough.
“Farmers don’t want rocks, and they don’t want lumps of clay in their compost,” Mr Barnes said.
In the past six weeks, Mr Barnes said he had sold 5000 tonnes to farmers.
“I think the word is slowly getting out,” he said.
“There’s people coming who have never used it, and some that have used it for five years and wouldn’t do anything without it now.”
He said while it can take three years for soil to get the benefits compost can offer, it was worth it for the eventual outcomes.
“Two tonnes to the hectare of compost on a cotton field will grow 10 bales of cotton to the hectare,” he said.