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Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

Bioreactor Registry Results

Handful of compost with earthworm

Our registry participants are starting to send us test results! We've created this page to make it easier to find participants who have gotten to this stage.

Anchorage Farm

Contact: Stephen Shafer(opens in new window)

Location: Saugerties NY

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 1

Installation Date: filled and covered March 27, 2019

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: ash wood chips 49% leaves and grass that had gone thru mower-vac last fall 49% 2% sheep barn litter for good luck

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Full test results and comments.

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? No, plan to use it ourselves
BATCHELDER/COMSTOCK

Contact: Matt Batchelder, Charles Comstock

Location: Tomball, Texas

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors:  13

Installation Date: 2-01/30/19; 2-09/01/19; 9-03/15/20-04/09/20

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 100% Leaves from various trees in the Houston area including but not limited to: Southern Live Oak, Schumard Oak, Pecan, Red Maple

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Two samples. Tombull bioreactor: Bacterial counts were 15-20 microbes/0.25 nanoliter and good fungal biomass with ~ 8-9 spores per 4 nanoliters. San Antonio bioreactor: ~10 bacteria/0.25 nL 12-15 spores/4 nl and good fungal biomass. Additional comments and photos.

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  Yes, but not certain.

Eastwell

Contact: Bryant and Susie Ussher

Location: Kin Kin, Qld, Australia

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 5 completed. Another lot to make and put in place. 

Installation Date: January/February 2019

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Dairy manure, bales of hay/straw, wood chip and forest chip

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Results of forest woodchips compost (PDF)Results of camphor woodchips compost (PDF).

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? No. Personal use on our farm.

EclectAcres Vineyards

Contact: Leonard Chmiel

Location: Hotchkiss, Colorado, United Sates

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 1

Installation Date: 9/9/19

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 40% shredded grapevine canes, 40% shredded cottonwood leaves, 20 % partially composted horse manure

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): 67% fungal, 33% bacterial 2:1 1041 µg C/g

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?: No

HEXRIVIER ORGANIC LEMONS

Contact: Martli Slabber

Location: Republic of South Africa

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 7

Installation Date: November 2018 and ongoing

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Woodchips 60%, green weeds 15%, food waste 20%, cow dung 5% -

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio):Here are photos from my 10-month old Biocomposter, taken by the superwomen at Nemlab, South Africa. We used it as a slurry to treat cover crop seeds in April-May 2020 (autumn planting – we are in Mediterranean climate, Southern Hemisphere).  The roots of the germination cover crop is looking beautiful – soilclagged (for want of a better word), similar seedlings treated with vermicompost-leachate. We are also applying small amounts of JS compost directly under our trees, to help with inoculation of the soil. Lab Results. (PDF)

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? No - Will be using it to use in my own cover crops.

HOME ORGANIC GARDEN

Contact: Kevin O'Brien

Location: Paonia, Colorado, USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 1

Installation Date: November 2019

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 100% leaves - mulched and washed. Occasional sprinklings of blood meal and alfalfa pellets were added when the bin was initially filled. I’m using a 4x4x4 wood frame bin on a pallet with 8 ventilation holes/shafts. This provides full coverage for the 12” maximum distance from an air source in my bin once the pipes are removed. 16 days in progress so far with temp remaining in thermophylic zone (140F--150F). Volume has decreased about 10%. Moisture level is steady—@ 70%.

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Reported 12/10/2020, using microBiometer testing kit: Fungal - 78%, Bacterialial - 22%, F:B ratio - 3.6:1, 1575 ug C/g

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? No.

KLEINE BOSCH

Contact: Piet Potgieter

Location: Wellington, Western Cape, South Africa

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 28

Installation Date: March 2019

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Eucalyptus and black wattle (young growth) chipped as well as some olive branches

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Reading of 863 which the testing agency says is 11 times greater than you would expect in a soil with good soil health and represents the equivalent of 44.5 tons of microbiological biomass in the upper 20 cm of one hectare of land.

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?: No

McConnell Foundation

Contact: Alex Carter

Location: Redding, CA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 2

Installation Date: January 2020

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: We modified the bioreactor design to accommodate more material: Bio-Reactor containment boxes are 8’long X 4’ wide X 5’ tall; 18 ea. 4.5” OD. X 60” air ventilation pipes installed. Wood chips/shaving (1.3 cuyd), steer manure (2.1 cuyd), shredded leaves (2.1 cuyd). Total material loaded into bioreactor = 5.5 cuyd

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Results received December 2020 Fungal:Bacterial Ratio = 1:5

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  no

Mosca-Hooper Conservation District

Contact: Patrick O'Neill

Location: Alamosa, CO, USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 100

Installation Date: Oct 2018

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Sheep Manure 8% Wood Chips 17% Grass Hay 50% Barley Straw 25%

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): 0.90 : 1.00 (note: test from soil foodweb analysis, taken at 5 months from time of pile formation). UPDATE as of 2/10/2020: The values for Total Fungal : Total Bacterial ratios from three locations within the pile tested out at 1.98 (top of pile), and 2.29 (middle pile), and 1.20 (bottom of pile). 

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  Yes but not until next year (2021)
NMSU SASC

Contact: Amy Larsen(opens in new window)

Location: Alcalde, NM, USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 6

Installation Date: March through June 2018

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Measurements are in % by volume. Recipe 1: 83% brown (wood chips, brown leaves); 17% green (dairy/chicken manure, food waste, alfalfa hay). Recipe 2: 40% brown (wood chips, brown leaves, straw); 60% green (horse/chicken manure, barley grain, alfalfa hay)

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): From PLFA analyses on finished compost. Recipe 1: (0.3697); Recipe 2: TBD June 2019.

Sept. 30, 2020: NMSU SASC completed microbial testing on four bioreactors currently in progress. The ages of the bioreactors vary:
B1/B2 tested at 30.5 months; B5/B6 tested at 26.5 months; B7/B8 tested at 15 months, and B9/B10 tested at 14.5 months. In discussing the results with the Lab Director, he suspects that B1/B2 may have become anaerobic, causing the protozoa numbers to dip below the desired range and the ciliate numbers to be high. Otherwise, he said, the results from the other bioreactors look good. See test results for B1/B2 (PDF), for B5/B6 (PDF), for B7/B8 (PDF), and for B9/B10 (PDF). PLFA Results for July 2020: B1-B8 (PDF) and B9&B10 (PDF).

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  No, for research purposes.

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PLOUMEN E.S. COMPOST

Contact: Joh Ploumen

Location: Maastricht, the Netherlands

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 1,scaled down to 100 l volume.

Installation Date: March 17, 2020 (now ended), July 10, 2020

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 1st trial: 100 % vermicompost, the aim is basic research, the content stays (surprisingly) 1.5 C below ambient temp. 2nd trial: 100% vermicompost, Wasse Wormen, Basic research is my secondary aim

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): 2nd trial: The F/B ratio is monitored via test unit microBIOMETER. F/B increased from 0.56 to 0.61 in 6 weeks time

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  Not yet

Sebastian Twilfer Project

Contact: Sebastian Twilfer

Location: Steinfurt/NRW/Germany

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors:  2

Installation Date: Sept. 8, 2019

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: approximately 1/3 Leaves, 1/3 Hay containing legumes, 1/3 woody material

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio):

I found a new lab certified by Elaine Ingham in Germany - called Erdbaum - where one of my Johnson-Su bioreactor composts was tested. (Lab report KP1)

As a comparison, I also tested some usual garden leaf compost. (Lab report KP2). To my surprise, it even had a little higher fungal to bacterial ratio.

Overall, it is aerobic compost, but there were signs of anaerobic conditions in both composts.

Maybe the bioreactor has gotten too much rain and was overwatered with watering one minute a day, so it seems to need less water than in an arid climate as in New Mexico or California. An exception might be in the summertime and other long periods of low relative humidity and lots of wind. Overall, protection from rain and might be useful.

Photos of microscopic images that came with the KP1 test results.

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? Would like to but have no idea about the price. So far it is for my own use.

Soil Souldiers Ltd

Contact: Anna Simmonds

Location: Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 2

Installation Date: May 19, and Nov 19, 2019

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Batch 1 = woodchips (too big) and leaf mold mostly. about 80% woodchips. Batch 2 = Small rotted woodchips, leaf mold, greens (artichoke, comfrey, dock, Sow thistle) This was a more even split of roughly 33% of each.

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Full reports are available for samples taken at the top and the bottom of the pile. Report 1 (PDF)Report 2 (PDF)

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? How much?:  I have made compost tea and slurries for seeds from it. No price yet......any suggestions?

Stuart Hole's Project

Contact: Stuart Hole

Location: Gundagai, NSW, Australia

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: one each month

Installation Date: Dec. 2019Update on 1st of 15

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Horse manure 50%, Garden waste 40%, Wood chip 10%

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): 1st batch: Total microorganisms : 230mg/kg, fungi:bacteria ratio 2.2 : 1 , micorrhizal fungi : 18mg/kg

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? How much?:  No

Terravitka

Contact:  Vitalia Víg(opens in new window)

Location: Hungary

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 3

Installation Date: 2017-2019

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Leaves, woodchips, chipped yard waste

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): F:B ranged between 1:3 and 1:6 Test Results (PDF)

Chart of Temperature Profiles and Microscopy

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? How much?:  unknown

The Trollworks Llc

Contact: Gordon West(opens in new window)

Location: Silver City, NM, USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 5

Installation Date: 2016, 2019 

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 20% aged horse manure, 20% biochar, 20% pecan shell fines, 20% grass hay, 20% juniper shreds

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): 2016 batch 50:50

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? How much?:  We are using it to charge biochar for sale.

Unruh's Project

Contact:  Ted Unruh

Location:  Cromer Manitoba Canada

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors:  6-8

Installation Date:  Feb. 2020

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio:  90% Feedlot bedding, 8% dry straw, 2% wood chips

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio):  1.75:1

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? No

Wilmot Cattle Co

Contact: Stuart Austin(opens in new window)

Location: Hernani, NSW Australia

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 3

Installation Date: July 2017

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 25% Greenwaste - lawn clippings & leaves 25% Fine wood shavings 25% Coarse wood shavings 25% Sorghum straw/mulch

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio):  We did a Microbewise for Compost test on all three units. - Total Bacteria - 1) 68.9mg/kg 2) 87.9mg/kg 3) 90/8mg/kg - Total Fungi - 1) 270.4mg/kg 2) 547.3mg/kg 3) 712.7 mg/kg - Fungi: Bacteria - 1) 3.9 2) 6.2 3) 7.8 - Total microorganisms - 1) 356.6mg/kg 2) 655.9mg/kg 3) 819.5mg/kg - Protozoa - 1) 17.3mg/kg 2) 20.6mg/kg 3) 16mg/kg - Mycorrhizal fungi - 1) 44.6mg/kg 2) 63.6mg/kg 3) 74.8mg/kg - Carbon - 1) 164.8mg/kg 2) 300.6mg/kg 3) 374.1mg/kg

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? No

Work In Beauty

Contact: Peter Owl McCabe(opens in new window)

Location: Ramah, NM

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 6

Installation Date: August 2018

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 60% shredded straw, 30% goat bedding, 10% weeds

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): 6.6

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? No