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(opens in new window)Additional test results and comments on making compost tea(opens in new window) from BEAM compost.

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

Austin Smith's Project

Contact: Austin Smith

Location: Denton, Texas, USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors:  2

Installation Date: May 2020

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: wood chips and sprayed between each layer molasses and fish hydrolysate

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): First one open. forgot to video. content chocolate coco color and squeeze into to like a clay. Will post second one later. https://youtu.be/930tAVF8dXA(opens in new window)(opens in new window)  Full playlist of videos related to this project.(opens in new window)(opens in new window)

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  No. I'm a gardener.

DONALD LOURIE'S PROJECT

Contact: Donald Lourie(opens in new window)

Location: Springdale, AR USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 18

Installation Date: First two in December 2019 Next 7 in December 2020, 15 in December 2021

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Oak and maple leaves 100%

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): First reactors at 22 months. F:B = 5.26:1, August 2021 Test Results, (PDF)

November 2021 Test Results (PDF)

February 2022 Test Results (PDF)

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  Yes $10 pound.

Drawdown Farm

Contact: Taimur Malik

Location: District Muzaffargarh, Punjab, Pakistan

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 3

Installation Date: April 2020

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 30% cow manure 70% deciduous South Asian native tree leaves (such as from bombax ceiba and mangifera indica)

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): We have not been able to find a local lab that can calculate the fungal:bacteria ratio, but the finished product (April 2021) looks much like Dr. Johnson describes and shows, with a dark chocolate br own color and clay like consistency. The preliminary results wherever we have deployed this compost in our sandy "soils" (a euphemism for pure sand) are very promising.

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? No. We don't nearly have enough for our needs, so we're expanding production to 50 bioreactors over the next few months.

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

Freeman Project

Contact: John and Roz Freeman

Location: San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 1

Installation Date: March 17, 2021

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 80% Dry Pecan leaves 15% Dry Oak leaves 5% Dry Sycamore leaves, caught rain water, 2 cups Johnson-Su bioreactor inoculant from a 12-month finished reactor at City Farm in San Luis Obispo, in the leaf bath containing some of our own cured compost, prior to loading it to the reactor. Additional information.(opens in new window)(opens in new window)

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): not tested yet

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?: Plan to use some for ourselves and give the rest away to others with instruction. 

Additional comments(opens in new window)

Fun-Guy Compost

Contact: Matt Batchelder/Charlie Comstock

Location: Tomball, TX USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: two sets of bioreactors: 9 (2020) and 16 (2021)

Installation Date: 1st Set: 2-01/30/19; 2-09/01/19; 9-03/15/20-04/09/20, 2nd Set: April 2021

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 100% shredded, washed leaves from various types of trees in the Houston, TX area, including but not limited to: Southern Live Oak, Schumard Oak, White Oak, Pecan, Red Maple

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Test results from Earthfort (PDF) (PDF)

2nd Set: Compost will be tested Spring 2022

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?Yes, and it will be available this Spring 2022.

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)

June 2021 Test Results: Full year Johnson Su (PDF), 9 months Johnson Su with Bokashi (anaerobic process) (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.

IGROW ORGANICS LLC

Contact: Dennis DeLaurier

Location: Manor Texas USA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 4

Installation Date: June 2020

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Horse Manure and hay. 50 /50

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Results received by CRARS May 2021 (PDF) (PDF)

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? Yes, currently for sale(opens in new window).

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

Komposztálom

Contact: Vitália Víg

Location: Hungary

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 10 (as of March2021)

Installation Date: May 2020- March 2021

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: The reactors are filled with horse manure. Either 100 % manure or mixed with spent hay. We are working on coming up with ways to eliminate manure problems at small horse stables. At our demo site there are 3 horses currently, generating about 75 kg of manure daily. To handle this amount of manure we need to build about 2 reactors a month. At this point our process is extremely labor intensive, but the superiority of the finished product seems to justify the amount of work we need to put in. Would love to come up with ways to simplify the process while keeping the high quality of the finished material.

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): For the results of our first reactor, please see the microbial assessment report attached. The F:B ratio is getting close to 1, but the compost is not finished yet. As of now (March 2021) we are very satisfied with the results. We have the entire microscopic soil food web present in our compost. As time goes by, we expect the fungal biomass to go up and the organic plant materials completely break down. Test results at 9 months. (PDF) (PDF)Photos and Microscopy(opens in new window)(opens in new window).

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?: Yes, we are planning on selling our product. In addition to selling the finished BEAM compost we are in the process of developing value added products that are based on this material. The price of the BEAM compost will be about 6 to 10 EUR per kg.

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(opens in new window)

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). 

MOSCA-HOOPER has a report on their use of Johnson-Su compost in the field(opens in new window).

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  Yes. 10 tons of finished compost are currently available. (June 9, 2020). Please contact Patrick O'Neill through their website (linked under "Contact" above) for pricing and shipping options.

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).
Results for May 2021. (PDF) Might be worth noting the ages of the respective piles: 
B1/B2: built Apr 2018, B5/B6 built Jul 2018, B7/B8 built Jun 2019, B9/B10 built Jul 2019

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

Nosegay Farm

Contact: Mica O'Herlihy

Location: Arcata, CA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 4

Installation Date: 11/2020, 1/2021, 5/2021

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: each one is different but the average ratio is 5% equisetum, 5% nettle, 5% crab shells, 10% fish carcasses, 15 %kelp, 30% wood chips, 30% horse manure, biodynamic preps.

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): so far i've only scoped the first pile at 8 months. it was 2:1

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  yes, $8/lb

Permaculture Farmers

Contact:  Leif Busk(opens in new window)(opens in new window)

Location: Horsbjergvej 37, Give 7323, Denmark

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 5

Installation Date: 1 in 2019, 3 in 2020 and 1 in 2021

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: 2019 = 40% barley straw, 20% hay, 30% fresh green material, 10% cow manure. 2020 = 50% barley straw, 20% hay, 25% fresh green material, 5% cow manure. 2021= 100% lucerne

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): 2019 = 1 to 1, 2020 = 0.5 to 1 and 1 to 1 2021 = ?

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  Yes, don't know

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. F/B = 4.1 was surprisingly measured after 14 weeks residence time. 

Update:

Oct. 30 [Microben] = 720 [MC] = 720 μg C/g ,  F/B = 1.4. 
Dec. 27 [Microben] = 840 [MC] = 840 μg C/g ,   F/B = 1.7
Dec. 27 [Microben] = 837 [MC]  =  840 μg C/g ,   F/B = 1.7
April 5  [Microben] = 994 [MC]  =  994 μg C/g ,   F/B = 1.9 

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

Puma Springs Vineyards

Contact: Rick Kaye(opens in new window)(opens in new window)

Location: Healdsburg, CA

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 1

Installation Date: August 15, 2017

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: Biodynamic Vineyard: chicken manure in bedding (30%), onsite landscape clippings (chipped) (30%), biomass from vegetable garden (15%) , straw bedding from goat barn (15%), llama manure (3%), finished compost (7%). All material presoaked; After tubes pulled, added biodynamic preps when temps dropped to 100F, added two pounds compost worms when temps dropped to 80 F, harvested in August 2018

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): Did not test final product but mixed in material ( 3-5 yards) with additional 15 yards of imported organic compost, and spread at rate of 5 tons/acre as base for two acres of insectary row cover crop in vineyard.  Read More(opens in new window)(opens in new window)

Puma Springs has supplied a report on the early results of spreading Johnson-Su compost in the vineyard(opens in new window)(opens in new window).

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale?  No- just for use as part of our compost program

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) (PDF), Report 2 (PDF) (PDF)  Additional comments from Anna.(opens in new window)(opens in new window)

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.

Stangl's Enviro Lawn Care

Contact: Michael Stangl(opens in new window)(opens in new window)

Location: St. Catharines, ON, Canada

Number of Johnson-Su Bioreactors: 4

Installation Date: 2019, 2020, I will make two more this October, have been making since 2016

Materials used to make BEAM and in what ratio: fall leaves, minimal grass blades, I use a mower to pick up and grind, there might be some twigs

Results of finished BEAM (Fungal:Bacterial Ratio): 2.5:1 we count the spores also

Do you plan to offer your BEAM for sale? How much?: I use within my business, regen lawn care as well as sell to ag

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