Agricultural wastes are products of agricultural production. To minimize waste on the farm, as a farmer, you need to know the nature of the waste products you generate on your farm.
After you understand the kind of waste, only then can you propose proper solutions to the challenges posed by the waste generated.
Agricultural waste comes in diverse forms. They can be liquid, slurry,y or solid; they can be soluble or insoluble, combustible or incombustible, toxic or nontoxic.
With this understanding of the nature of waste, you will know where to dispose of it or probably make use of it. Below is a list of where agricultural waste can be used on the farm:
- Convert waste to animal feed: many or most agricultural wastes have economic importance to farmers. Waste generated from threshing, dehusking, and the milling process can be used directly on the farm for the feeding of various animals. Rice and wheat bran can be served directly to some animals, such as goats, cattle, grasscutters, and even pigs.
Corn bran, groundnut cake, palm kernel cake, and sesame cake can be blended with other ingredients and served to pigs, poultry, birds, and other animals as feed. Dead birds can be served to catfish as a good source of food.
These are just a few of the numerous wastes you can use as feed for your animals instead of disposing of them indiscriminately, which could lead to environmental pollution and hazards.
- Convert waste to fuel: in recent years, the development of biotechnology has led to the discovery of biofuel and biogas. The generation of biogas from your food and animal waste will help you reduce or cut down on the cost of purchasing cooking gas for the farm.
Also, the biogas generated can be used as fuel for your power generation plants.
The good news here is that the technology behind the generation of biogas for household use is very cheap and readily available online.
To learn more about how to build a mini biogas plant for household use, you can go to YouTube and watch videos on how it’s done.
- Use waste for the production of other products; products such as briquettes, soap, etc. can be made from agricultural waste. With a little research, you will discover that many things can be made of the waste you’ve been disposing of.
Years ago, I remembered cutting down the woods on my farm, and I was looking for avenues to dispose of them. I got the advice to sell them off as firewood to bakeries or restaurants that use them as sources of fuel for their cooking. Another idea I had was to convert the wood into charcoal, which I could sell or use personally.
This shows that there is practically no waste, but we just don’t know the usefulness of what we have to dispose of.
- Convert waste to organic manure: there have been arguments over the years that organic manure is a better option than inorganic manure for optimum crop production.
Whether the argument is right or wrong the fact is that the use of organic manure will boost crop production and as well as lower the cost involvement.
The use of organic manure is good, but the application of raw animal waste on farmland could lead to land pollution, especially when it is not treated or decomposed before application. Secondly, some animal wastes are acidic and can lead to the death of your crops.
So the best advice is to let waste decompose first. By decomposing, I mean to allow bacteria to act on the manure to break it down before application on the farm.
Decomposition helps to break down the acidic content of the waste and makes it less harmful to the soil and the plants that it is meant to nourish.
- Convert waste to cash: most agricultural waste can be sold out to people for other purposes. There are vegetable farms that will gladly buy your poultry waste to use as manure on their farms.
Agricultural waste such as rice bran and corn husk can be used as feed or fuel in factories. All you need to do is search for buyers and strike a deal with them so that every time you have this waste, they can come and get it from your farm at a cost.
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