Food waste to fertiliser

James Price is one of the local farmers who has seen the benefits of food waste recycling first hand.

James Price uses digestate on his farm near Woodstock

James from Woodstock uses the liquid fertiliser, called digestate, which your food waste is recycled into, to help grow his crops.

We caught up with him to see how it all works:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your farm?

I was born in Oxford and grew up on the farm in Woodstock which has been in the family since 1946. The farm is now all arable, growing wheat, barley, oilseed rape and beans.

What do you use digestate for?

This will be our second year using it to fertilise the soil to grow oilseed rape, but we are looking at using it on the wheat crop too.

Can digestate be spread on land like normal fertiliser?

Yes and no. There are restrictions on the timing of applications for digestate due to its solubility. In addition it is spread at very high volumes (20m3/ha) whereas the equivalent artificial fertiliser would be spread at 200kg/ha.

Why do you use digestate over other fertilisers - does it improve soil condition?

Digestate has more nutrients in it than just nitrogen; it is the blend of all the micro and macro nutrients that makes it an effective product at developing a healthier root system.

Has using digestate made any difference to the crops?

So far we’ve seen excellent growth from using digestate. This hasn’t translated to higher yield yet but as the weather was so bad in the autumn it did help a lot with the establishment of our crops - making a big difference between having a crop, or not.

Is there a message you’d like to give people to encourage them to use their food waste bins?

If reports are to be believed and 50% of food is wasted (although not all by the consumer) then I think we should at least be doing something constructive with it. If we can recycle food waste to produce both fertiliser and electricity rather than sending it to landfill, then it’s got to be the right thing to do.

We recycled over 3,600 tonnes of food waste in West Oxfordshire last year. If you’d like a food waste caddy and/or bin please get in touch.

West Oxfordshire District Council
New Yatt Road
OX28 1PB