Solving livestock manure and feed problems with duckweed

Creating social value through an eco-friendly virtuous cycle smart farm 백정준 기자l승인2023.11.24l수정2023.11.24 10:23

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As meat and dairy product consumption is increasing, livestock manure is probelmatic. The treatment cost is high and it is one of the causes of enviornmental pollution. The government brought up compost and liquid fertilizer as a solution but we have not seen its effectiveness much.

Good news however came from a company that introduced SFF (Smart Farm Factory). It is Pie Holdings. SFF is a resource circulation technology that uses liquid fertilizer from livestock waste treatment facilities to grow floating aquatic plants and use them as cattle feed.

 

Solving livestock manure and feed problems

Duckweed is rich in nutrients, enough to be used as herbal medicine

Wonhyun Ji, CEO of Pie Holdings, is a doctor of engineering and business administration. The company developed SFF (Smart Farm Factory), an hydroponics smart farm.

Feed is as important as its treatment when it comes to cost and the business as a whole. The soaring material price caused by the series of war is adding a problem to already burdensome situation.

“Generally, cows need grass dry or raw in addition to feed which is mostly being imported. Alfalfa, for example, is about 900,000 won per ton. But the duckweed we make costs farmers around 450,000 to 500,000 won” explains Ji.

Alfalfa is a favorite food of cows as it stimulates their appetite with rich nutrition and helps them increase productivity of milk. This is the reason cattle raisers import the feed despite the high price. Therefore, it is only good news for them to witness the advent of cost-effective feed such as duckweed thanks to SFF.

Duckweed is a kind of floating aquatic plants commonly seen on the surface of the rice field of ponds. It looks weed and has been used as a herbal ingredient for a long time for rich protein and fat. Not only cows can eat it but also chicken and birds. Some people new its effective and has been using it for feed. What Pie Holdings did is to bring up systematic cultivation and use.

“Hydroponics needs expensive ingredients such as nutrient solution. What we did was that we diluted the liquid fertilizer from manure with water to obtain desired density so that we can cultivate duckweed which then is used for cattle feed. Simply put, it is a resource circulation technology” explains Ji.

 

Ecofriendly automated cultivation for socially beneficial practice

Ji focused on rapid growth and multiplication of duckweed. When a condition is given, it dubles its number in no time and can be used for cattle feed and reduce unnecessary cost. SFF is the farming method doing this without a hassle.

It links to a manure treatment facility to supply liquid fertilizer and monitors water quality for optimul hydroponics. LED supplies lights needed for growth and the carbon dioxide needed during the process can come from industrial facilties. Duckweed boasts high carbon dioxide collection rate which is a reason that it contributues to carbon neutrality alongside possible use for solar and thermal power.

SFF covers all steps of automatic culativation 24 hours and all year round which makes it highly stable supply within the dometisc soil, and it is also highly marketable as we do not need an import of ingredients.

Pie Holdings currently is working on installing SFF if it is a small farm and offers management services if it is a big farm. As for the coming years, it plans to build plant factories to supply dog food. Through and through, Pie Holdings endeavors to bring ecofriendly automated cultivation system not only for business but also for socially beneficial practice.

Meanwhile, CEO Ji is currently serving as head professor of the Department of Energy, Climate and Environmental Convergence Technology at Hoseo University Graduate School, and director of the university-affiliated Environmental Energy Research Institute. Ji is promoting business by establishing a company to spread the venture spirit of Hoseo University.


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