A Little Cement to Help the Corn Grow--and the Landfill ShrinkBy
When cement trucks are hosed down, the rinsed-off cement particles
may make a perfect liming material to improve farm and garden soil.
Service scientists say the particles are soil-friendly because
theyre alkaline and loaded with calcium silicates.
Leftover cement and other industrial byproducts that do not have a
negative effect on the environment or public health could find a home
in sustainable farming practices while solving many disposal problems,
according to a new ARS publication, Agricultural
Uses of Municipal, Animal, and Industrial Byproducts.
The 127-page publication is intended for scientists and
administrators in research, education and industry and for
policymakers. Its a unique compilation about diverse
byproducts--including, for example, manures from all types of
livestock, from cattle to mink.
ARS hopes the book will foster more farm-urban partnerships to apply
innovative, scientifically sound approaches for solving byproduct
The amount of waste byproducts in the United States is increasing
and will exceed a billion tons this year. Meanwhile, there are about
5,000 fewer landfills today than 10 years ago.
In one ARS study cited in the book, scientists applied cement
particles at rates as high as 100 tons per acre to grow corn, soybeans
and wheat. Ronald F. Korcak of ARS
Sciences Institute in Beltsville, Md., led the study, which is
In addition to manures, Korcak and colleagues experiment with other
byproducts as compost ingredients for growing crops. These include
coal ash from power plants, rock dust from stone- crushing operations,
yard waste, municipal garbage, crab shells, claws and other body parts
left after processing, and wallboard and wood scraps from construction
The new publication is available free while supplies last from
Robert J. Wright, ARS National Program Staff, BARC-West, Building 005,
Room 232, Beltsville, MD 20705.
Scientific contacts: Ronald F. Korcak, ARS
Sciences Institute, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-6591, fax
(301) 504-5521, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Robert J. Wright, ARS
Program Staff, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-6065, fax (301)