Composting is a new field for Continental Farmers Group. Each year, approximately 5–6 tons of different waste is left at the Company’s elevators. It is usually disposed of, thus incurring additional costs. From now on, this waste is recycled to obtain composted fertilizer. To preserve valuable substances, agricultural holding company specialists are working on different provisioning schemes. For example, if some waste contains few nutrient elements, some peat is added to it, or phosphorite meal or chicken manure.
Continental Farmers Group also uses different combinations of bacteria and mushrooms when mixing its composted fertilizer. Due to these techniques, not only the preparation of composted fertilizer is quicker, but also raw materials are disease-treated to get rid of pathogen micro flora as well as hard-to-get phosphorus is mobilized. Even though the amount of phosphorus that is produced by bacteria is relatively small, if it is introduced each year, the soil resources may be used more effectively and the amount of used mineral fertilizers may be reduced, they say at the Continental Farmers Group. This is confirmed by research that is conducted in the Company fields by the agronomical science department.
Continental Farmers Group carefully studies characteristics of its fields to learn what agrochemical characteristics of composted fertilizer are needed for the soil – those that increase the pH, reduce the pH or those that have an accumulated amount of phosphorus. Therefore, each composted fertilizer mixture would be uniquely adapted to the needs of a specific field. They say at the Company that with the use of the composted fertilizer with a different chemical composition it is possible to reduce the pH to the optimum level in calcareous soil and stabilize the pH in acid soil.
Continental Farmers Group already has some experience in mixing composted fertilizer and even set up a site in the Lviv Oblast to provision composted fertilizer. The Company plans to establish other such sites and improve its provisioning technology to obtain a high quality composted fertilizer.
Other organic fertilizers used by the Continental Farmers Group include chicken manure that is a valuable source of nutrient substances for agricultural crops. The Company buys it from chicken farms. They introduce chicken manure in the dry form by mechanical spreaders in the amount of 5–7 tons per hectare, then they perform deep tillage of the soil. To make the manure disease-treated, they use biological preparations that are natural bacteria and mushrooms that speed up decomposition of plant residue in the soil, suppress the pathogen micro flora and make the soil healthier.
Another way of introducing organic fertilizers that is used by the Continental Farmers Group is the growing of green manure crop that are plants that are cultivated before planting the main crop to improve physical and chemical properties of the soil and make it rich in nutrient elements. Green manure crop supports the moisture retaining properties of the soil, help soil softening and are a source of micro and macro elements. When introducing green manure crop, the agricultural holding company carefully studies physical and chemical characteristics of the soil to determine the mixture that is best for each field. Due to its introduction, the Continental Farmers Group plans to reduce the use of mineral fertilizers. This year, the Company fields that already had the harvesting of winter crops were seeded with green manure crops on approximately four thousand hectares. The next year, the Company plans to increase this area to 10 thousand hectares. Aside from its own growing, the Company also uses out of the box mixtures that it buys from specialized companies.
Organic fertilizers are introduced to all fields that is tilled by Continental Farmers Group. The Company states that it strives to preserve soil resources and it is the active use of organic fertilizers in production that restores its physical and chemical properties. Therefore, the Continental Farmers Group is improving is land tilling system and cares for the fertility of the land it works on.