FAQ about BioPac'r™, Grass Clipping Silage™ & Green Waste Diversion asked by Turf Managers, Farmers & Environmentalist.

There are naturally many FAQ about this new innovation that is going to Reinvent the Turfgrass Industry and redefine livestock feeding practices.  FAQ about How to use the BioPac'r, FAQ about how to make or feed Grass Clipping Silage™ and even FAQ addressing how the BioPac'r diverts Green Waste from Landfills and Transfer Stations.  If we haven't answered a FAQ of your own, you have the opportunity at the bottom of this page, to ask your own FAQ.

Are Lawns that have been sprayed with pesticides safe to use after ensiling?

The short answer is YES, unless the pesticide label specifically states not to feed to livestock.  Not feeding to livestock is much different than a grazing restriction.  Most labels have some type of grazing or re-entry period.  As far as pesticides that have labels that state "DO NOT FEED TO LIVESTOCK", we communicate with our customers to Red Flag these products so they never accidentally enter our supply chain.

In 1965, Wright's Effect of ensiling on the decomposition of several herbicides. Crop Sci: 455-456) proved that the weed killers that were applied prior to ensiling were degraded by 66% within the first two (2) hours of the process! After 30 days of ensiling current lab equipment can detect markers of herbicides but their sensitive instruments just can't measure any active ingredient.  Again and again, studies confirm that the fermentation process still degrades  lawn chemicals today, just as they did back in the 1960's.  There is no surprise that beef consumers had the same concerns back then with as some have today.  The difference is that back then the issue was the cancer causing DDT and today lawn companies use the non-cancer causing 2,4-D found at the local hardware store.  DDT was 1000 times more persistent (12 years) then any lawn pesticide used today (2,4-D is 10 days) (NIH).

In the Journal of Science, Food and Agriculture research titled DEGRADATION OF COMMERCIAL DDT IN SILAGE, August1969,Vol. 20) shows that ensiling breaks down pesticides and nothing in nature has changed since the 60's to invalidate this claim.

 

Do you have proof that the BioPac'r ensiling process degrades pesticides?

The American farmer understands and trust the ensiling process to degrade the pesticides that they sprayed on their own crops to keep their own animals safe.  Almost 95% of dairy cows eat some form of silage.

Here Your Proof

In 1965, Wright's Effect of ensiling on the decomposition of several herbicides. Crop Sci: 455-456) proved that the weed killers that were applied prior to ensiling were degraded by 66% within the first two (2) hours of the process! After 30 days of ensiling current lab equipment can detect markers of herbicides but their sensitive instruments just can't measure any active ingredient.  Again and again, studies confirm that the fermentation process still degrades  lawn chemicals today, just as they did back in the 1960's.  There is no surprise that beef consumers had the same concerns back then with as some have today.  The difference is that back then the issue was the cancer causing DDT and today lawn companies use the non-cancer causing 2,4-D found at the local hardware store.  DDT was 1000 times more persistent (12 years) then any lawn pesticide used today (2,4-D is 10 days) (NIH).

In the Journal of Science, Food and Agriculture research titled DEGRADATION OF COMMERCIAL DDT IN SILAGE, August1969,Vol. 20) shows that ensiling breaks down pesticides and nothing in nature has changed since the 60's to invalidate this claim.

What is Silage?

Silage is made from high-moisture Agricultural crops in an anaerobic environment (lacking Oxygen).  Ag crops include green standing corn plants, alfalfa or grasses that have previously been sprayed with pesticides.  Once the ensiling process is complete, this product can be safely fed to ruminants (cud-chewing animals) like camels, cattle, sheep, buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, goats and the list goes on and on.

Grass Clipping Silage™ is the name that  founder Todd Graus (Inventor of the BioPac'r System) coined to describe this new and emerging commodity made from the clippings of golf courses, lawns, sod fields or pastures now being maintained and mowed weekly, bi-weekly, etc like a lawn where the fibers are too short to bale.

Note: Non-ruminant animals like horses must be regulated more closely only offering an exact feed ration to prevent overeating and bloating.  Feed Grass Clipping Silage™ in exactly the same manner you would straight oats, corn, sweat feeds, etc.  Consult your Vet prior to feeding.

How is Lawn Clipping Silage™ Made?

Silage production can only be carried out under an oxygen-free (anaerobic) environment in order to preserve nutrient quality and provide a produce with a long shelf life (4 Years). As the lawns are being mowed, clippings are dumped into the BioPac'r™ where they are compressed to remove oxygen. At the end of the day the user will transfer the compressed loaf into our specialized silage bags. The bag top is twisted like a bread bag forming an airtight bag. Next, the remaining oxygen is used up in the production of heat, once the heat is gone (24 hrs.) the inside of the bag is oxygen free. Now the bag is in an anaerobic state and the pickling process can begin.  Twenty-eight (28) days later, you have Lawn Clipping Silage™ .

Learn more on the principals of making silage from lawn clippings.

How many bags of silage can I make in a season?

There are so many variables.  Number of crew member mowing, time of year, duration between mows, weeks of mowing available, etc.  We have demonstrated that a single BioPac'r can package  a 1-ton Pac'r Bag every four hours.

If you live in an area where there are 30 weeks of mowing X 5 day work week X 1 bag/day =  150 tons.

How does a BioPac'r™ Save my company Money?

If you are a landscaper, the BioPac'r™ will save you multiple trips to the landfill or your dump site each week. Unloading 3-5 pickup loads of lawn clippings only takes 30 seconds. A BioPac'r™ could pay for itself in the first year by saving landfill fees and labor charges alone. Start producing Lawn Clipping Silage™ that YCC will help you sell by brokering the silage to livestock operators on your behalf.
Our Savings Calculator will project your estimated annual savings then add the revenue of selling 1-ton silage bales and you can see an even brighter future for your company.

Do you had some more numbers on the potential return on investment for a landscape company?

Had someone from Pennsylvania ask me about ROI or Return on Investment.

This LCO is currently recycling grass clippings back into their lawns and he is considering switching to bagging to generate feed and additional revenue.  Here are a few variables to obtain Gross Revenue, but you will also have to do more work to discover your own ROI.  It normally requires a customized computer program to figure out ROI and I hope to have such a calculator operational in the next few months. Until then, this exercise will help anyone understand the process of obtaining a ball park figure of the value of  Grass Clipping Silage on the open market and the potential revenue an operator could realize over the course of your season.

  1. Grass Clipping Silage™ (GCS) is equivalent in feed value to the best your area has to offer this week I the Supreme or Premium Quality Hay categories.
  2. GCS is 65% moisture.
  3. GCS is discounted for the extra moisture by 50% to obtain it’s the dry matter basis weight that can then be compared to hay at 15% moisture.
  4. BioPac’r Bag Cost: $25/ton
  5. Biomass Production: 1-ton/acre/week (3-man mowing crew, 2-Riding mowers, 1-trim mower, 1-String trimmer) season.
  6. 135 tons generated in 2011 by the Jackson Hole mowing crew (Field Study).
  7. Current value of the best quality hay available for sale in your area. To obtain the $ Value of GCS, you need to know what the current selling price/ton for hay in your area. To do this I Googled "Current Pennsylvania Hay Prices" and went to:   https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/qa_gr111.txt  (Screen Shot Below).

Calculations using the Above variables

  1. I see that last Friday that the Supreme / Premium quality hay sold for a $363/ton.
  2. Adjusting silage $$ to dry basis hay: (($363/ton * .50 [moisture discount]) - $25/ton [bag cost]))  =  $156.50/ton
  3. (($156.50/ton X acres mowed weekly) X mowing weeks per season) =  Gross Revenue
  4. $156.50 X 135 tons = $21,127.50 of newly generated revenue

 

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Can I mount my BioPac'r permently at my shop?

No.  The BioPac'r was designed and safety engineered to be the worlds first totally portable ensiling system.  OSHA requires that the BioPac'r not be stationary.  Therefore, mount your Pac'r in a pickup bed, flat bed, landscapers trailer or an approved 4+ tire running gear or other creative idea you have to make it portable.

Is there a recommended procedure to fill the BioPac'r?

Here is how we field tested the BioPac'r with a LCO and a Golf Course to obtain the best quality Grass Clipping Silage™ possible.  Are there other ways? Its Possible, but you will have to conduct your own experiments to see if it works in your own unique situation.

1. We would dump the grass clippings into a bulk bag or on a small tarp and at the end of each property we would dump the bag into the Pac’r and compress the clippings before moving onto the next yard.

2. Move on to the next property, keeping the pressure on the load until you are ready to fill the chamber again, probably at the end of mowing the next property and cycle the compaction stroke once again.

2a. Golf course will need to compact more often due to multiple crew dumping.  The clippings are much shorter and can dry out much faster if pressure is not kept against the clippings at all times.

3. Once you run out of space, it's ready to package.

4. If possible, Leave the clippings in the compactor overnight under pressure and package the next morning allowing most of the oxygen to be purged overnight.

5. Before packaging, cycle the Pac’r one more time to eliminate pore space. If you gain a few more feet of space, add some more grass.

Note: having this much extra space the next morning means you tried to compact too much, too fast the previous day. Which is the result of waiting until the end of the day to compact two or more crews at once. Doesn’t work this way. Trapped air inside the loaf needs 15-20 minutes between cycles to purge to obtain a tight pack. This is why we recommend you pack curbside at the end of each property on the fly or in the event of a golf course, mount your Pac'r on a four tire running gear and pull it to the fairway mowers to load.

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I want to become a drop off point for all the landscapers in my area, do you have anyone yet doing this?

I'm aware of a few of our customers that are working out the logistics to maximize the use of their machines.  Here are a few rules you will need to follow if you want to make silage that a farmer would want to purchase.

  1.  Make sure the clippings you are adding the machine are no older than 8-10 hours since harvesting. If clippings are older than  this, the composting process has started due to the available oxygen and can be unsafe to feed to livestock later on.
  2. Allow 10-20 minutes between cycles to allow air to be purged from the innermost portions of the developing loaf.
  3. Devise a way to separate the clippings within the chamber with a divider when two or more companies contribute to a loaf.  If later there is a feed quality problem with a bag, we will have no way to trace back to the company that contributed the clippings and we can help these contracts revise their own process.
  4. Do not attempt to fill to capacity over a very short time frame, like 60 minutes or less.  You will create a bale but because the air was unable to escape, the bale will only weight 1000-1200 pounds vs. the intended 2000 pounds.  When this happens, the additional oxygen heats up the biomass too much and bad things happen, it can be unappealing to animals.
What are the feed values (TDN, Protein, etc.) of Grass Clipping Silage™?

The protein ranges between 18% - 24%, Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) has a range of 61% - 65% . Click here to see the entire Feed Analysis.  Show your Vet the feed analysis and also show them a sample before feeding.

What's a Lawn Harvester?

A "Lawn Harvester™" is a Trade Marked name that Yellowstone Compact & Commodities coined to be used in place of phrases like "the lawn mowers, the grass cutters, the lawn mower guys, etc.," meaning those who mow the lawn. A "Lawn Harvester™" is a name that can be used (legally) if your company has purchased a BioPac'r™ to produce Lawn Clipping Silage™ and if are using the YCC Sequentially coded Zip Ties to close off the Bio Liners.

How do I feed Grass Clipping Silage to my cattle?

We recommend that when feeding Grass Clipping Silage™ for the first time, offer 25% Grass Clipping Silage™ to 75% of their normal hay by Dry matter the first week to introduce their stomachs to something different.  In week two begin to increase to a 50/50 ration of hay to Grass Clipping Silage™.  In a feedlot situation, allow your feed mixing software to offer a few different rations and pick the one that suits your needs the best. Show your Vet the feed analysis and also show them a sample before feeding.

Can I feed my sheep Grass Clipping Silage™?

Absolutely  Here is a Colorado State University study that focused on feeding raw grass clippings and ensiled grass clippings that had been sprayed on purpose with pesticides to study the effects upon the test subjects. Evaluation of feeding grass clippings as a feed source for sheep.  Show your Vet the feed analysis and also show them a sample before feeding.

Is it true, the BioPac'r uses Vegetable Oil as a hydraulic fluid?

The BioPac'r does run on food grade hydraulic fluid.  Pac'r Oil is a biodegradable, food grade, hydraulic fluid.   Hydraulic fitting will someday leak, that just what they do!.  Using food grade hydraulic fluid will not contaminate the grass clippings. When leaks do appear, don't worry, you have just created a salad perfectly safe to feed!

Can Horses eat grass clipping silage?

We don't recommend GCS feed for horses.  Horses do not have ruminant stomachs so they can not be free fed freshly harvested forage or unlimited corn can cause unrecoverable injury. Grass Clipping Silage can have the same effect.

In a situation where there is a large stable where every horse is fed individually in their own stall, it is possible to offer GSC.  You must first have your individual bags of silage tested for the nutritional value.  Next, you must consult your large animal vet or certified feed nutritionist because pound for pound it is as hot and cracked corn.  For example, on paper, a 2000 pound bag of silage can feed 25-50 horses for a week.  Parting Note: Show your Vet the feed analysis and also show them a sample before feeding.

Can hogs eat Grass Clipping Silage?

Hogs can be fed silage but they don't digest cellulose very efficiently.  Show your Vet the feed analysis and also show them a sample before feeding.

I raise laying hens, can I feed grass silage to them?

Chicken can be fed grass clipping silage, because I fed it to my broilers and layers during the winter with no ill effects.  We don't have a particular ration to offer but a threw about a handful per 5 adult birds.  This is a great scratch to use during the winter months when hens are inside or the ground is frozen solid with a blanket of snow across the landscape.  It helps to break the boredom.  Show your Vet the feed analysis and aslo show them a sample before feeding.

Do you make a smaller BioPac'r?

When we looked into a smaller unit, the livestock owners found 1000 lb. bags to be too inefficient for their use. There was also a financial consideration, the cost to make the Pac’r Bags is $25 whether it was a 1000 lb. capacity bag or a 2000 lb. bag. And last, for marketing purposes, livestock people think in terms of tons and dry matter equivalent. One ton (2000 lbs.) of Grass Clipping Silage is a wet feed and has the same weight of dry matter as a large round bale of alfalfa.

We compress our clippings at the end of each, Why can we only make 1400 lb bags?

Back in 2014 when we were working on our 5th Prototype, we went to the Walker Mower's manufacturing plant in Fort Collins, Colorado.  They had offered to us their grass clippings that were being harvested that day.  When we got there we off loaded all the clippings we could.  We would fill the compaction chamber full and compress, fill and compress until we were at what we thought was the max capacity.  The next day before packaging we weighted the Pac'r and was surprised the content was only 1400 pounds, 600 lbs short of our goal.  The next morning we cycled the hydraulics one last time prior to packaging and was shocked to obtain an additional 2 feet of space!  It occurred to me that the resting period between cycles was important to purge air from the intertwining of the grass clippings.  The process of purging the air trapped in and around the clippings is like air escaping from an air mattress.  No matter how much you push, the air can only come out on the valve stem so fast.

Can anyone become a Distributor of BioPacr?

In our business model, Distributors are expected to be the financiers of floor models and not necessarily the front line sales force.

  • Distributors purchase and provide the floor models to Dealers that can’t otherwise afford to have a display model on hand.
  • Distributors provide support to their dealer network.
  • Potential BioPac'r  distributors should already have a dealer network in place or 110% committed to establishing a dealer network in which to place your inventory.
    • Dealers are mainly comprised of lawn mower or small engine repair shops already carrying commercial lawn equipment like Walker, Toro, Grass Hopper, Exmark, John Deere, etc.
  • There several other types of Wholesale businesses that can become a BioPac'r Distributor with an exclusive territory.

Distributors provide the support to help dealers become successful.  Feel free to contact us if you are interested.

Who are the primary users of a BioPac'r?

Landscapers, Golf Courses, Sod growing companies, Property Management Companies, HOA's, Municipalities, Landfill Operators and anyone else that manages Turfgrass.  All benefit from reducing landfill trips and turning their clippings into a profitable cattle silage.  Landfills benefit because they no longer have to handle these clippings.

How do I find a buyer for my Grass Clipping Silage™?

You don't have to, our Commodities Division will make contact with livestock owners within your area within 90 miles. We can then broker a fair, long-term contract that is mutually beneficial.  For the specifics, please read  How To Sell Your Grass Clippings.

How receptive have farmers been to Grass Clipping Silage™ ?

Currently there is more DEMAND than our current operators can SUPPLY.  Livestock owners understand "Feed Analysis" so their are very excited about the quality. The first question out of the mouth of a farmer has generally been, What's it cost per ton?  Second question is, how many tons can a turf manager supply?

This product has many more benefits to feeding verse rations containing alfalfa or grass hay.  Feed rations developed by the University of Wyoming incorporating Grass Clipping Silage™, shows the  daily " $/Head/Day " to feed an animal is less than rations not incorporating this high octane silage.

Smaller farmers are especially excite.  They can buy this silage for less than the best quality hay and not have to fight the big feedlots for availability or a bidding war.  In doing so, small operators become more sustainable.

 

owl

Ask YCC Experts Another Question:

About BioPac'rtmshortgreen:

image005Yellowstone Compact & Commodities Corp is the manufacturer of the BioPac’r line of products. BioPac'r, Grass 2 Cash, Lawn Clipping Compactor, Lawn Harvester, and Lawn Clipping Silage are ALL Trademarkstmshortgreenof Yellowstone Compact & Commodities Corp.

Contact Us:

Interested in learning more about BioPac'r? Be sure to sign up for our email updates and contact us at info@biopacr.com.

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