1. Black Kow® composted cow manure is made from the finest raw materials available...manure from dairy farms. To see how it’s made, let’s start at the beginning with the cows at the dairy farm. We "employ" over 20,000 cows a year to get enough raw material for Black Kow composted cow manure.
2. The dairy farmer cleans the holding pens regularly and stores the manure in huge piles like these. What do you do with all that manure? That’s where we come in. Our front-end loaders and special turning equipment move on-site at the dairy and begin the process of composting. Composting is simply the natural decaying process caused by beneficial microbes. We just help Mother Nature speed her process and convert “waste” into an organic, nutrient-rich, stable soil called composted cow manure.
3. All composting is done outdoors to take full advantage of natural rainfall and the sun's energy. The decaying manure is formed into long “windrows” pictured here. We have special equipment that turns the manure so that fresh air and moisture is evenly distributed through the rows. What’s on top is moved to the bottom and vice versa. Turning is done weekly or more often depending on rainfall.
4. This turning helps “kick start” the naturally occurring bacteria that break down the manure. It takes about three months to complete the composting cycle. During the composting process temperatures can reach one hundred fifty degrees and weed seeds that the cows might have ingested are killed in about two days. In this early morning photo you can see the "steam" (water vapor as it hits the cool air) rising from the windrows of composting manure. In the summertime temperatures deep inside the rows can reach 130 degrees.
5. There’s usually enough rainfall to keep the correct moisture level in the manure windrows. During dry weather, we sometimes have to add water. But that’s all we add. We never add peat, sand or fillers of any kind to Black Kow. We work only with what the cows give us. Cows will eat what they find in the pasture and that can eventually turn up in their manure. You might occasionally find a bit of bark, a small piece of black plastic film or a pine needle or wood shavings (often used as bedding). These are often found in the grazing areas, milking barns or holding pens.
6. Now that the composting is complete, let’s go inside the plant. Here the composted manure is dumped into a hopper. The manure has been sifted to remove larger pieces. We carefully control the moisture content of Black Kow. If it's too dry, that's not good for the microbes. If it's too wet, it clumps up and cannot be packaged properly. Thirty percent moisture content is ideal for the bacteria and our packaging equipment.
7. The bags are electronically weighed, filled and heat-sealed. Shown here are the 50-pound bags...the most popular and economical size.
8. Bags travel off a conveyer belt and are electronically stacked on shipping pallets.
9. Our automated equipment then wraps every pallet with black plastic film to reduce shipping damage. Black Kow is a premium product. We have high standards and want every shipment to arrive at the store in perfect condition.
10. Finally, the pallets are moved to a loading area where they await shipment to your neighborhood nursery, garden center or home improvement warehouse.
Black Kow is good for the environment.
Black Kow® is the ultimate in natural recycling. Wherever large numbers of animals are kept in close proximity like a dairy farm, their manure has potential for creating pollution. Removing the manure and naturally composting it, minimizes the potential for pollution. The final product is perfect for you to take home and improve weak, rocky/sandy or thick clay-type soils in your lawn or garden.