By Allison Floyd
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
Article Courtesy of Growing Alabama
Few things are more Southern than tea.
But a Castleberry, Ala., company hopes to take its tea - an organic soil amendment made from composted waste - beyond Dixie and into other farming regions.
GEC Organic’s liquid soil amendment, like the company’s other products, is refined using natural processes at the company’s 70-acre site in South Central Alabama. The three main ingredients of the compost - chicken litter, wood shavings and charcoal - are combined and composted into a fertilizer suitable for organic growing operations.
“It gives you better water retention and doesn’t run off as readily as synthetic fertilizers. It won’t create a hardness in the ground. It won’t dissipate into the atmosphere,” said GEC president and CEO Peter Ubaldi. “It goes into the soil and remediates the soil over a long time."
“Over the years, when you continue to use our products, it rebuilds the soil that before you were taking away from. Now, you are rebuilding it.”
GEC takes chicken litter from area broiler houses and green waste from local lumber yards - chicken litter because of its high nutrient value and wood shavings for their carbon value. Granulated charcoal from lumber waste is added to increase potash levels in the compost.
The waste is combined into long troughs called windrows, turned on a regular schedule and sprayed with a proprietary compound called OSA101liquid to encourage aerobic micro-organisms that facilitate decomposition and kill anaerobic microbes that cause a foul smell. The result is a nutritious, odor-free soil amendment that is 6 percent nitrogen, 8 percent phosphate and 8 percent soluble potash.
Test plots at Auburn University and Alabama A&M have shown good results, and growers are sharing their success stories with others, Ubaldi said.
The company produces up to 20,000 yards of the organic fertilizer and over 30,000 gallons of organic compost teas and soil inoculants each month.
That still makes GEC Organics relatively small, but Ubaldi is looking to expand. After a little more than a year in business, the company is reaching large growers in several states, serving some row-crop farmers and smaller-scale citrus growers.
The plant in Castleberry, Ala., serves most anywhere in the Southeast, and company representatives have visited Hawaii to discuss the development of a second soil amendment production facility there.
To view this article on the Growing Alabama website, click here.
© 2015 GECOrganics. All rights reserved.
Phone: (251) 966-2300
Castleberry, Al 36432, 630 Conecuh County Road 23