The Best Way To Use Straw Bale For Energy And Gardening

straw

There is a significant amount of potential profit for the grower, as well as bedding or energy potential, in the millions of tonnes of straw which is currently incorporated into the soil.

Burning straw to generate electricity or heat may seem like sacrilege to livestock farmers but it’s an expanding industry in the tillage sector across Europe and it provides growers with an alternative income stream.
Straw is a by-product resulting from the growing of commercial crops, primarily cereal grain. Ireland’s area under cereals amounts to almost 300,000 hectares and yielding approximately 1.1m tonnes of straw. The traditional markets for straw include, animal bedding, animal feed and chopping and plough back to increase soil carbon content. Straw has been used in other EU countries for decades as a combustion fuel for both heat and electricity production.
The Irish government and the EU have made clear their wish to promote the use of increasing amounts of biomass for the production of energy. They have set overall targets for renewable energy production (16% of total final consumption from renewables by 2020), and a specific target for renewable heat (12% substitution) in the National Bioenergy Action Plan. Both targets are far in excess of what is being produced from biomass at present.
Cereal straw is a biomass material that is in plentiful supply in Ireland. An SEIcommissioned study in 2005 estimated that of a total straw production of 1.2 – 1.5 million tonnes, 80-320,000 tonnes could be available for energy use.
Traditionally straw prices have been very volatile, but fixed price contracts are likely to be more attractive to growers now than they have been in the past.

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STRAW FOR ENERGY
For the use of straw as fuel, its use in boilers might possibly lead to corrosion problems on heat exchange surfaces. There are a number of boiler manufacturers who will apply their boiler warranty to straw. Straw is a CO2 neutral fuel and that is the reason why it should be promoted in the energy supply chain. Straw has been used as an energy fuel in Denmark since the early seventies.

Wheat straw coal briquetting machine(1.3 Tons)/Biomass/Straw fuel forming machine/feed machine

Straw can be made from a variety of grain crops, and regardless of where it comes from, its purposes are generally the same. Some farmers will leave the stalks behind after harvesting seeds, tilling them back into the soil and returning what nutrients are left. Straw is often used as bedding for large animals, but it also has non-farming uses. Straw is a highly valuable renewable energy source, and burning straw can be used to generate power. For example, many power plants in the UK fuel thousands of homes with the burning of straw. A single power plant in East Anglia burns about 210,000 tons of straw in a single year, and that provides enough energy to run about 80,000 homes—a huge number, especially considering straw is highly renewable.

While a hay crop is usually planted with only one end goal in mind—animal feed—straw is much more versatile. A bale of straw can also be used for composting into gardens or in place of dirt. Recent attempts at bringing a bit of home-grown vegetables and country living to the city have yielded some surprising results. A bale of straw can be used as a planting medium for garden vegetables. A wet bale of straw will decay from the inside out, providing a fertile bed for crops from potatoes to herbs.

Straw is often used as insulation for protecting crops that grow through the winter. A surprisingly significant amount of straw produced in the UK is used for the growth of mushrooms and the overwintering protection of carrot crops.

As well as use for bedding, mushroom compost, and over wintering carrots, straw is burned in power stations and boilers to generate renewable heat and electricity. The 38MW dedicated straw burning power station at Ely in East Anglia uses 210,000 tonnes of straw per year, which is enough to power about 80,000 homes. Two more power stations of the same size have recently got planning permission at Brigg and Sleaford, in Lincolnshire, as well as a third smaller power station at Tansterne, in East Yorkshire. Even if operating concurrently, the four dedicated straw burning power stations will only consume about 750,000 tonnes per year. Drax, the UK’s largest coal–fired power station also consumes about 80,000 tonnes of straw per year, the majority of which is currently oilseed rape straw. So, in total, the straw consumption from power plants would only equate to around 6.5% of the supply. However from an arable farmer’s perspective, supplying a straw-fired power station offers some advantages over other customers in that the transaction would include removal of straw in a timely and efficient manner.

Straw Bale Gardening

 

What to grow
You can grow crops from seed or plant seedlings — just as you would in a raised bed or in the ground. For seedlings, consider tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and spring greens. If you’re planting from seed, start with beans, cucumbers and squash. Carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and potatoes can be grown well but are a bit trickier.

How to prepare the bales
Before you can plant in the bales, they need some special preparation, so buy the bales at least two weeks before you want to plant. Place the bales where you want to grow; once they are prepared, they will be too heavy to move.

The first week
Water the bale thoroughly, until water runs out the bottom of the bale. Sprinkle the surface with a nitrogen source (see box), applying at the recommended rate.
Every other day, add more of the nitrogen source; water thoroughly. Do it a total of three times during the first week.
On the days you don’t apply nitrogen, just water the bales thoroughly.
The second week
For the next three days, apply the nitrogen source daily at half the original rate. Follow up with thorough watering.
After three days of adding nitrogen, water daily.
At the end of the week, sprinkle each bale with 2 cups of balanced fertilizer, such as organic 5-5-5. Water thoroughly.
Why so much nitrogen? It jump-starts the composting process and creates an ideal environment for plant roots. Over the course of the two weeks, the bales heat up considerably and can reach temperatures of 125 degrees F or more.

After the two weeks of treatment, the bales are ready for planting. The internal temperature should be about 75 to 80 degrees F, which you can verify with a compost thermometer. Probe from side of the bale, about halfway down. Low-tech option: Use your finger. The interior should feel warm, but not hot. If the bale still feels too hot, wait another couple days and check again.

How to plant
To plant seedlings — tomato, pepper, eggplant and greens — make a gap or divot in the top of the bale and set the roots in place. Fill in around the roots with a good-quality, peat-based potting soil, ensuring that the seedlings are well-seated and level with the surface of the bale. Water gently and, if needed, add more soil to fill gaps and stabilize the seedling.

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Table Of Contents:

The Most Important Thing
Making Your Own Beverages: Beer to Stronger Stuff
Ginger Beer: Making Soda the Old Fashioned Way
How North American Indians and Early Pioneers Made Pemmican
Spycraft: Military Correspondence During The 1700’s to 1900’s
Wild West Guns for SHTF and a Guide to Rolling Your Own Ammo
How Our Forefathers Built Their Sawmills, Grain Mills,and Stamping Mills
How Our Ancestors Made Herbal Poultice to Heal Their Wounds
What Our Ancestors Were Foraging For? or How to Wildcraft Your Table
How Our Ancestors Navigated Without Using a GPS System
How Our Forefathers Made Knives
How Our Forefathers Made Snow shoes for Survival
How North California Native Americans Built Their Semi-subterranean Roundhouses
Our Ancestors’Guide to Root Cellars
Good Old Fashioned Cooking on an Open Flame
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Preserve Water
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Take Care of Our Hygiene When There Isn’t Anything to Buy
How and Why I Prefer to Make Soap with Modern Ingredients
Temporarily Installing a Wood-Burning Stove during Emergencies
Making Traditional and Survival Bark Bread…….
Trapping in Winter for Beaver and Muskrat Just like Our Forefathers Did
How to Make a Smokehouse and Smoke Fish
Survival Lessons From The Donner Party

Books can be your best pre-collapse investment.

 

The Lost Ways (Learn the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive famines,wars,economic crisis and anything else life threw at them)

Survival MD (Best Post Collapse First Aid Survival Guide Ever)

Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )

Liberty Generator (Build and make your own energy source)

Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)

Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )

Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)

 Survive Any Crisis (Best  Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)

Survive The End Days (Biggest Cover Up Of Our President)

Drought USA (Discover The Amazing Device That Turns Air Into Water)

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