Pelletised Sheep Manure
Westcoast Wool & Livestock, in conjunction with Argo Wools, has incorporated a pelletising plant alongside its sheep dag crushing machinery and is producing high quality pelletised sheep manure. (see chemical analysis link below).
Unlike ordinary sheep manure available, the Westcoast pellets are weed free. Dags are first processed through a hammermill and crushed. Most of the wool is removed and the manure falls through a grate in the bottom of the hammermill before being fed to the pelletiser via a series of cyclones and conveyers. During the pelletising process, significant heat is generated so that any seed remaining is then sterilised and made unviable. Also, any unpelletised product that may contain seed is vacuumed at the end of the bagging conveyor, once again reducing the risk of viable seed contaminating the finished pellets.
Trials at two Margaret River vineyards showed good results on poorer soil types, with improved production from vines six months after application. In one particular trial (50mm deep and 500mm wide), the comparison between a commercially-supplied mulch and pelletised sheep manure applied at the same rates showed the pellets had equal to, if not superior, “lasting capabilities”. There was also no difference in weed activity between the two products trialled.
The pelletised manure is superior to other currently available mulches and manures due to the following factors:
- Any unpelletised material is removed from the conveyor before bagging, so there is little loss when spreading the pellets.
- Low water content prevents the pellets from dissolving, therefore increasing their “lasting capabilities” and ensuring a greater percentage of desirable nutrients per kilogram, rather than moisture.
- Some wool fibre still remains in the product, which also aids “matting”, as well as improving soil structure.
- The pellets are consistently 10mm in diameter and “roll” easily, which allows for easy spreading.