Magic Valley closes the organic loop
When Ray Silene, started as the production supervisor with Magic Valley Compost in 2006, they had 9 employees and 2 worn out turners. The general manager at the time was focused on bagging products and nursery sales. The company struggled to produce 40,000 tons per year. Ray first focused on production coming from an equipment and farming background. He soon increased the production and quality of product. As the company began to streamline, they started expanding their sales area.
Magic Valley Compost, like many businesses, created value in finding a solution to a problem. The problem in the Southern Idaho region was all the manure created from the many dairy and feed lots in the area. They realized that by taking the manure and selling it as a nutrient source to the local farmers; they could be part of the solution. However, the manure needed to be composted in order to be land applied.
The idea was to compost the manure on a small portion of land each site dedicated to windrow composting, then transport the high quality composted manure to local farms and spread it. In order to accomplish this they first needed turners that were easily transportable, low maintenance and fuel efficient.
Over the years, Ray and his partner Luis Bettencourt, have purchased a number of different turners, gradually getting bigger machines and ones designed for his specific application. They eventually graduated to the Komptech X60 windrow turner. This turner allowed less downtime, and lower fuel and wear costs over it predecessors. The X60 also decreased the composting time by creating a higher peaked windrow with a lot of porosity. This meant the product could get out to market sooner and create revenue. On top of that, “the Komptech turners were much faster” says Ray, allowing their company to turn more sites in a day. Because of this, Magic Valley expanded their customer base and currently has three Komptech turners in their fleet.
Magic Valley Compost now manages 74 compost sites and has the capacity to produce, screen, haul and spread over 600,000 tons of products that was once viewed as waste. They currently ship compost as far as 250 miles away and provide custom services in four states; Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, & Utah.
The concept of a sustainable closed loop system is often preached about but rarely obtained. In this case, Magic Valley takes the manure from the cows, composts it and sells it back to the farmers who are growing the hay that eventually goes back to feed the same cows that produce the manure. In the true sense of the word, Magic Valley has created a business that closes the organic loop. They have also expanded into providing nutrients for a variety of crops, conventional and organic, along with soil reclamation.
In 2015, Magic Valley took delivery of their latest turner, the all new Topturn X63. This newer model replaced the X60 model and incorporated many of the ideas that Ray and his team had brought to Komptech. A big improvement was to the power plant. The new X63 uses a 450 HP CAT C13 instead of the 340 HP CAT C9 that was used in the older machines. “The new X63 goes through the windrow twice as fast as the older models” says Ray. This reduces costs dramatically since time is money. Magic valley compost is constantly looking for new ways thru process and equipment to leave a smaller impact on our environment.
Don’t think Komptech or Magic Valley is done yet. Ray Silene recently joined Komptech at their annual sales training in Black Hawk, CO to share his experience with the engineers from the factory. Together, they are working on new ideas to incorporate in his next machine. Since the beginning, Komptech has worked in partnership with their customers to grow their businesses. In doing so, the machines get better, and the customers’ bottom line increases. Komtpech looks forward to a mutually beneficial, long term relationship with Magic Valley Compost.