Silver Star Farm
Camden, North Carolina
Facility Type: Boarding
- Number of Horses: 6
- Completion Date: 2009
- Cost: $11,375
This O2Compost manure composting system was built on a six horse farm near Camden, North Carolina. The three bin “on-grade” system sits on a concrete pad and is covered by a simple shed roof. A hose mounted to the side of the bin system provides convenient water to manage the moisture content of the composting manure piles. The cornerstone of all O2Compost systems is the small blower that provides forced air to the compost pile. Oxygen is a necessary ingredient for composting, and the forced air provided by the blower speeds up the composting time while reducing or eliminating the need to turn the piles with a front end loader. The electric blower was thoughtfully hidden in an attached wood housing that adds to the overall attractiveness of this compost system.
O2Compost notes that many of their clients use the finished compost on their own farm, or graciously give it away to grateful friends and neighbors. Others, however, have started side businesses selling their finished compost, transforming what once was a waste product on the farm to a profitable commodity. Farm owners Brian and Anna Smith have done just that, selling their compost locally under the brand name “Carolina Compost.” Brian notes that the compost system “wasn’t cheap.” However, after only two years of selling the finished compost, Brian recovered the costs of the O2Compost system, and after the third year he had earned enough to pay for a small farm tractor.
$3,875 – O2Compost Costs including design plans, aerated composting accessories (blower, timer, valves, thermometer, etc) and technical support.
$7500 – construction materials and installation costs*
total cost = $11,375
* The owner of this O2Compost System is a contractor, so installation costs may be on the low end compared to hiring out for installation.
“Our composting system was born by necessity. We are on limited acreage surrounded by wetlands, so when we discovered the O2compost system it was almost a feeling of too good to be true. (As a contractor) The actual construction of the system was easy for me, but I couldn’t have figured out the composting part without the help of Peter and 02. It has always been our intention to sell our finished product, so we have spent a lot of time and money on marketing, bags, hours at garden show and it is finally paying off. We have sold out the last 3 springs. I never thought I would tell my wife that we need more horses!
Here are some lessons learned (from three plus years of composting):
1. The underlayment of shavings is crucial to success. I tried hay/straw as an underlayment, because I was out of shavings and soon realized the airflow had been blocked once the straw had gotten wet and created a mat. My temperatures never broke 100 degrees and the pile became anaerobic. We had to break down the pile and reset it, which threw off our 30 day cycle.
2. If bagging is something that you want to do, come prepared with a strong back or money for a bagging machine!”
- Brian Smith, Owner of Silver Star Farm