According to The New York Times, second-generation dairy farmers in Connecticut have devised a way to re-use smelly cow manure: Developing pots for plant and flower seedlings made out of dried, deoderized manure fibers. With eight years of development, and “countless grim experiments,” Ben and Mathew Freund, owners of 225 Holstein cows, produced CowPots, bio-degradable seed-starting containers, which are being made on the farm and sold to commercial and backyard growers. Connecticut’s Agricultural Businesses Cluster provided the dairy farmers with a $72,000 grant to explore ways to combat the environmental effects of excessive cow manure. (Cows, on average, produces 120 pounds of manure daily).

Buyers of the pots prefer these over plastic pots, says The New York Times. CowPots “hold water well, last for months in a greenhouse and can then be planted directly into the ground, sparing the seedling transplant shock and letting tender new roots penetrate easily. As the pots decompose, they continue to fertilize the plant and attract beneficial worms.”

Re-using the cow manure may have a range of broader environmental benefits. Run-off excess nitrogen and phosphorus fill watersheds in areas where there are dairy farms. Additionally, cows release significant amounts of methane through gas and their waste. According to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), livestock contribute 37 percent of global methane, 9 percent of all CO2, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions.

Read the article

Go to CowPots

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