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Commercial Composting - Creech Services, KY

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Creech Services is located in Lexington, Kentucky, also home to 450 working horse farms. For the past 20 years, Creech Services has been collecting the used straw bedding (muck) from these farms for processing into two income streams: bedding for mushroom cultivation, and top-quality compost for high-end landscapers and organic vegetable farmers.

The composting is done at a 20-acre site where Creech built a 1250 ft x 700 ft, 6 inch thick concrete pad with a 1% grade, which allows the water to drain into catchment pools. Creech composts on concrete in order to control the run-off and because the equipment can move around more effectively than if the facility were built on dirt.

Creech purchased an F-20 Frontier Windrow Turner for three reasons: the patented drum and paddle Turbo-Rater assembly, the dual belt drive, and self-trailing system.

The drum and paddle assembly moves 15 cubic feet of air into the windrow for each cubic foot of material turned, and cross mixes the material thoroughly. Creech determined that the belt-drive design had better maintenance records than hydraulically driven drums - "We have operated the F-20 about 4,000 hours and have only changed the belts once." As a self-trailing unit, the F-20 can easily be moved on and off road with so specific permits required.

The F-20 mixes the windrows three times a week, and it typically takes 12 weeks to produce finished compost. Creech produces about 35,000 cubic yards of compost annually, in two qualities - thoroughbred and standard neither of which contains yard-waste. The thoroughbred compost is produced from straw horse bedding and breaks down 85% during the composting process. The standard compost is produced from wood-based horse bedding and breaks down 15%. Both compost products are certified organic.

"Our thoroughbred compost is rated in the top 1% of compost produced in the United States. The straw compost is a premium product because it has twice the nutrients as wood-based compost, and it can hold up to five-times its weight in water, compared to two-times for the wood-based compost. This makes composting with straw more difficult, but worth the effort, because smaller amounts are required to fertilize than lower quality compost."

Composting is dependent on the proper levels and even distribution of nutrients, oxygen, heat, and moisture with the windrow. The Frontier Windrow Turner efficiently maxes the ingredients guaranteeing a quality end-product.

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