Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Start a Bone Meal Organic Fertilizer Business


        
(321). Start a Bone Meal Organic Fertilizer Business
Bone meal is a mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones that is used as an organic fertilizer for plants and formerly in animal feed. As a slow-release fertilizer, bone meal is primarily used as a source of phosphorus.Bone meal once was often used as a human dietary calcium supplement.Bone meal is also an excellent organic source of calcium.Organic fertilizers usually require the use of microbes/bacteria in the soil in order to make the nutrients in the fertilizer bio-available. That can result in irregular release of phosphorus/calcium. In sterile potting soil, there may be no microbes to release the nutrients.Finely ground bone meal may provide quicker release than coarsely ground.Phosphates do not easily pass through soil. So mixing the bone meal with the soil or putting it in the planting hole can help.Bone meal is frequently used in preparing holes for blooming bulbs, for the phosphorus. It may help tomato plants prevent blossom end rot. However, blossom end rot can happen even though sufficient calcium is present if watering is irregular. High phosphorus fertilizers are also useful for transplant root growth.Bone meal may also reduce the bioavailability of lead in soils contaminated with lead.

Bone Meal


Bone meal fertilizer is essentially what it says it is. It is a meal or powder made from ground up animal bones, normally beef bones but they can be the bones of any animal commonly slaughtered. The bone meal is steamed to increase its availability for plants.Because bone meal is made from mostly beef bones, some people wonder if it is possible to get BSE (also known as Mad Cow Disease) from handling bone meal. This is not possible. First, the animals that are used for making bone meal for plants are tested for the disease and cannot be used for any purpose if the animal is found to be infected. Second, the process that is used to produce bone meal kills any kind of pathogens, like BSE, that the animal may have had.
This makes up the bulk of the phosphorus component. While the original Territorial recipe lists soft rock phosphate as an alternative source of phosphorus, I prefer bone meal. Not only is bone meal easier to find than rock phosphate, it also is already being produced as a byproduct of the beef industry. Rock phosphate is mined.
Less bone meal is required since it releases its phosphorus more readily. The advantage of using rock phosphate is that it continues to contribute phosphorus to your soil over many years. If you choose to use it, double the amount - use one part rock phosphate.

Bone Meal (BM), as an organic fertilizer, is made up of crushed and roughly ground animal bones and is great source of phosphorus. The color is almost white and a fine powder. It works more slowly than other fertilizers.
This rich source of phosphorus organic fertilizer consists mainly of calcium phosphate and nitrogen, the amounts depending on the type and age of the bone used.  Where raw BM contains 2 to 4 percent nitrogen, steamed BM has 1 to 2 percent nitrogen and up to 30 percent phosphorus and can be purchased at hardware stores and nurseries.
BM provides overall plant quality, stem strength, root growth, and helps normal plant maturity.BM can be used as a repellant for certain insects, but it is primarily used as an organic fertilizer. 
bone meal
BM Use
  • Used as a long-lasting source of phosphorus.
  • Used as bulb food and transplanting fertilizer, because of its high phosphorus content.
  • Use BM in top layer of your garden soil where new roots can find it.

How To Use Bone Meal On Plants

Bone meal fertilizer is used to increase phosphorus in the garden. Most bone meal has a NPK of 3-15-0. Phosphorus is essential for plants in order for them to flower. Bone meal phosphorus is easy for plants to take up. Using bone meal will help your flowering plants, like roses or bulbs, grow bigger and more plentiful flowers.
Before adding bone meal for plants to your garden, have your soil tested. The effectiveness of bone meal phosphorus drops significantly if the pH of the soil is above 7. If you find that your soil has a pH higher than 7, correct your soil’s pH first before adding bone meal otherwise the bone meal will not work.
Once the soil has been tested, add bone meal fertilizer at the rate of 10 pounds for every 100 square feet of garden that you are amending. The bone meal will release phosphorus into the soil for up to 4 months.
Bone meal is also useful for balancing out other high nitrogen, organic soil amendments. For example, rotted manure is an excellent source of nitrogen but it tends to lack significant amounts of phosphorus. By mixing bone meal fertilizer in with rotted manure, you have a well balanced organic fertilizer.

MAKING BONE MEAL FERTILIZER. 



"Large quantities of buffalo bones were collected from the western plains for making fertilizer."  "As virulent anthrax organisms have sometimes been discovered on old bones ... many countries require a certificate of sterilization before bone may be imported."
Processed bones may have been cooked, steamed, or treated with acid, or just been exposed to the elements for some time (desert bone).  Any of these make grinding easier.  Equipment for grinding can range from simple mortar-and-pestle pounding to animal-powered grinding wheels to modern hammer or roller mills. 
Green [untreated] bones are sometimes ground and sold as 'raw bone meal.'  "The fatty materials found in raw bone meal tend to delay the decomposition of the material when it is added to the soil.  [Raw bone meal] contains 2-4% nitrogen and 22-25% phosphate."  The raw bone contains elastic materials which make the grinding process considerably more difficult, though the protein they contain adds a bit of nitrogen to the final product. 
Most commercial bone meal is steamed.  Bones are boiled or steamed at high pressure to remove the gelatinous material (used commercially to make gelatin and glue).  Thus treated, they can be ground finer, making the phosphates more readily available.  Bone meal is superior to mineral phosphates in its crop-producing powers.  Its effectiveness is increased by the modest nitrogen content and the various micronutrients it contains.  The calcium salts (lime) also present tend to reduce soil acidity.
"Bones are sometimes heated in a closed retort....  The residual charcoal is known as bone-black [and is] used to clarify sugar.  It contains 30-35% phosphate and 10% carbon."

"If the bones are only required for soil dressing, they can be piled directly over firewood or any other combustible material and fired.  The charcoal and bones are collected together and poured into sacks."  "To obtain a clean product [as opposed to the charcoal/bone mixture]...erect some form of large grill from old piping, (or perhaps from old car springs or similar material), pile the bones on top and make a fire underneath."  The bars should be spaced close enough to prevent small bones from falling through, and should not be piled too high.  They recommend a pile about one foot high (30.5 cm).  The whole process will take from half to one hour.  The bones are ready to be taken from the fire once they have become spongy and brittle."
A variation on this method is "trench-firing".  A fire is built in a trench a minimum of 2 feet (30 cm) deep.  The grid is laid across a shelf dug some 6 inches (15 cm) below ground level along the trench and the bones piled on top of the grid.  "The advantages of this simple method are that large logs may be used for firing and that the heat is concentrated so that the required temperature is reached more quickly."
{mosimage} The firing process achieves three aims: "(1) it sterilizes the bones; (2) it burns off all the fat, blood vessels, marrow etc.; (3) the 'calcined' bones are so soft that they can be pounded easily with a pestle and mortar...."  It can also be done with little equipment.
"The average analysis of several samples of bone meal obtained in this way was as follows:
1.  (dry bones) 15.5% phosphorus (equivalent to 35.5% P2O5), and 30.5% calcium (equivalent to 42.8% CaO).
2.  (fresh bones with meat first stripped away) 15.2% phosphorus and 31.0% calcium."
"The meal is equal to the best quality steamed bone meal," which is often unobtainable locally or imported at high prices even though bones may be freely obtainable.
Because older, dry bones have already lost a lot of water and organic substances, they do not lose as much weight upon burning and the yield is higher.  One hundred pounds of dry bones should yield about 66 pounds of bone meal.  Fresh bones may yield about 33 pounds.


As the size of our animal herds increase, we face several implications. One is the growing imperative to make good use of all of the animal when the time comes to harvest. While arguably this is a philosophical underpinning to our approach to animal husbandry, when we have just one or two
Bones in the solar dehydrator
large animals (such as a sheep or a goat) to harvest in a season, and that To Do list is never quite finished, saving the organs for food, the fat for soaps and candles, the bones for bonemeal, the hides for leather, the intestinal lining for sausage casings and the skulls for crafts can become a task that involves a lot of labor without much total product.
In the recent past, we have opted to use these products as nutrient dense compost. However, as the number of animals that are harvested seasonally increases, it behooves us to make highest and best use of these resources, particularly as we approach a point on the efficiency curve where the labor invested produces a notable amount of product. With time, we will be documenting more and more our approach to making use of these valuable, but often less popular, resources.
Here, I am going to talk briefly about our adventures in making bonemeal. The composition of bones could be described in two basic categories: organic and inorganic. The primary purpose of making bonemeal is to capture the inorganic constituents--primarily hydroxyapetite-- and use it as a soil amendment. Calcium and phosphorus, both contained in hydroxyapetite, are essential nutrients for plant growth. Phosphorus is required in relatively large quantities by plants, and is often a limiting factor in plant growth. Bones also contain, in smaller volumes, potassium, magnesium, manganese, boron, iron, zinc, sulphur, silica and selenium, all of which are also essential nutrients for plant growth.
The process we are developing for making bonemeal currently looks like this:
  • During the butcher process we remove as much meat as possible from the bones.
  • The bones are then boiled, with vinegar, to make a bone broth or stew (the vinegar helps to extract the calcium into the broth so that we can consume it directly). This process removes most of the flesh, connective tissue and bone marrow (the organic components of bones), however bone marrow is the most likely to still be present.
  • Dry Bones Collected in a Bucket
  • The cooked and cleaned bones are then placed in the the solar dehydrator to thoroughly dry out. Making bone meal out of soaked through bones leads to sticky goupiness that clogs up the hammer mill.
  • Once we have gathered a large enough collection of dry bones, then we grind them up using the hammer mill. Andrew has placed a screen over the bottom of the hammer mill so that bone particles need to be quite small before passing through the screen.
  • We then gather up the bone materials and pass it through the hammer mill again, as there are always pieces that escape through the sides and are not as small as desired.
  • Two passes through the hammer mill usually suffices. The bone meal is then scooped into a bucket and stored away for use as a soil amendment.

Hammer mill with the plywood box that collects the bonemeal
In using the hammer mill, we have found a few tricks make the work more effective and safer. The hammer mill has a tendency to fling whatever it is grinding everywhere--partially ground bone bits come flying back out the intake shoot and "finished product" is flung in 90 degrees on all sides of directly down. To collect the finished product, Andrew has built a large plywood box that the hammer mill rests in and catches most of the bone that exits out the bottom. We also use an additional piece of plywood to cover the shoot, to prevent bone bits from flying out the top and into our eyes. Also, bones need to be added to the hammer mill in relatively small increments. If too many are added at once, they get jammed and then all the bones have to be removed by hand before you can proceed. It's best to avoid this one all together.
Finished Bonemeal
Overall, this process works quite well. However it does rely on a gasoline powered engine. One option used by folks in the past to utilize the minerals in bones includes cooking the bones in fire, and then using the bone-char-ash mixture as a soil amendment. We have yet to experiment with this one, but it seems like a worthwhile endeavor.









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