Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Black Soldier Fly Larva at the Manna Farm!!!

Here at the Manna Farm we have started raising Black Soldier Flies and their larvae!!! Keep reading to find out why…

Black soldier flies are small, harmless insects that have the potential to provide promising solutions to two of modern agriculture’s growing problems: the high cost of animal feed and the disposal of large amounts of animal waste. [1] Recent research has indicated that black soldier fly may be instrumental in closing the loop between animal waste and animal feed.[2] Black soldier flies (BSF) can not bite or sting, and unlike house flies, they are not transmitters of human diseases (http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/2008/06/13/bsf-not-vectors-human-pathogens/). 

The adults are not attracted to human habitation and thus pose a significantly lower risk of disease transmission than other fly species. [3] The black soldier fly is a native insect to North America and is found throughout many parts of the United States. In the U.S. they are most active and common in the southeast. They are also found throughout the Western Hemisphere. Black soldier flies are especially abundant in the subtropics and warm temperate regions.[4] The adults (winged stage) only live a few days for the purpose of mating and therefore do not migrate between waste matter and humans or their food as pest flies do.  However, it is not the adults that we desire for feed and composting of waste materials.  

That is the job of the larvae. Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) will eat nearly any kind of organic waste ranging from animal waste to food scraps. As the BSFL mature, they grow into 1⁄2- inch-long grubs, at which point they climb out of their food source and turn into pupae. The pupae can immediately be fed to chickens and are a good source of protein. They can also be dried and processed into feed for use at a later time. Small composting operations also allow them to turn into flies and breed, propagating the population (Bullock 2013).
BSFL or “grubs” are uniquely suited to serve humans. While the BSF adults only live for a few days their larvae can live for several weeks, and during that time they can consume huge quantities of food waste or manure. Consequently they are very well suited to process the constant stream of rotting waste that we humans produce as well as manure produced by livestock. There are two useful byproducts of this process; the residue or castings which can be used as a soil amendment, and the larvae themselves which represent an excellent source of food for many types of animals including chickens, pigs, rabbits and fish.[5] According to a study performed in Texas by ERS International (ERSI 2008), BSFL are composed of 42.1% protein. There are even some people currently converting the BSFL into biodiesel by pressing the larvae for oil and then converting it into a useable fuel source.[6] Here at the Manna Farm we plan on experimenting with all these beneficial uses.




[1] Bullock, Chapin, Evans, Elder, Givens, Jeffay, Pierce, and Robinson, The Black Soldier Fly How-to-Guide (University of North Carolina Institute For The Environment), http://www.ie.unc.edu/for_students/courses/capstone/13/bsfl_how-to_guide.pdf, 2013
[2] Watson, W., L. Newton, C. Sheppard, G. Burtle, and R. Dove, 2005. Using the Black Soldier Fly as a Value-Added Tool for the Management of Swine Manure. North Carolina State Univer: Raleigh NC

[3] Newton, G. L., D. C. Sheppard, D. W. Watson, G. J. Burtle, C. R. Dove, J. K. Tomberlin, and E. E. Thelen, 1984. “The Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens, as a manure management/resource recovery tool.” Symposium on the state of the science of Animal Manure and Waste Management: 5-7.

[4] Tomberlin, J. K., and D. C. Sheppard, 2001. “Lekking Behavior of the Black Soldier Fly (Diptera:Stratiomyidae)”. The Florida Entomologist 84.4: 729–730.

[5] http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/bsf-basics/
[6] http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/fly-larvae-to-biofuel-5923

Friday, October 10, 2014

Manna Farm Update

There has been a lot going on at the farm lately. I was released by the dr to begin working again there has been lots to get done. I've been blessed to have help from Paul Prashnik the last couple of weeks. We went this week and bought some goats to begin working on our cross breeding program for our farm in Haiti. We are working to develop a breed that produce large quantities of both milk and meat and is parasite resistant. 
We bought several Nubian does to breed with our beautiful Kiko buck "Hercules". 
We also bought a Boer doe and a Nigerian doe. 

We also have been working on the gardens. We have lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, okra, peas, lettuce, zucchini, and squash that are beginning to produce right now. 

 We had 8 loads of wood chips and leaves dumped at the farm this week that we will be using for composting over the winter. 
We have begun a new project learning how to raise Black soldier fly larvae for composting our pig manure and turning it into a valuable feed for the chickens that's 42% protein!  I will be putting a full blog post about this neat process. This is just the beginning of what has been going on.  I will be giving more updates from the farm soon. We recently built a video studio at the church building for shooting our training videos and our Bible training videos. We should start videoing in two weeks!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Here is a week by week growth comparison of the hydroponic tomatoes that we planted in Haiti 3 weeks ago.  They are growing great!
week 1

week 2

week 3

Thursday, April 10, 2014

March Haiti Trip

In March, Gregg Knight, Brandon Myers and I traveled to Petion-ville Haiti (a "suburb" of Port-Au-Prince) with the goal of installing a dutch bucket hydroponics system on the roof of an orphanage.  We had a great trip with much success.  We were able to install the system and 40 tomato plants are growing strong right now.
From Left to Right : Manius Viximar, Gregg Knight, Edson August, Gage Coldwater
We planted Roma tomatoes in the buckets.  We had some trouble locating good media and we had to improvise to provide adequate media.  We ended up using large stones in the bottom of the buckets and then we found a large piece of styrofoam that we shredded into small pieces that we mixed with torn pieces of Moringa tree pod shells (for water retention).  
Shredding Styrofoam block to make grow media!
Its always difficult to procure the needed parts and items for projects such as ours in a developing country such as Haiti.  We have to learn to really think outside the box.  This was the first dutch bucket Hydroponics system we have built overseas and we really learned what we need to bring with us and prepare for.  We also learned that we need to ensure that we have a solar pump for our system because of the unreliable power system!  While we were there we had almost 2 full days without any electricity and we had to hand water the entire system.  We also had learned from previous experience to bring battery powered power tools.  These proved to be a life-saver!  
Shade cloth installed 

We brought a 12x25ft shade tarp to cut down a small amount of the pounding sun that they get in Haiti.  This has proved very beneficial.  It has reduced the heat on the rooftop significantly.  It also made working conditions much more enjoyable. 
Gregg Knight and Edson August installing drip lines

Tomatoes started in the Dutch Buckets
Finished hydroponics system

We hired a translator named Edson August. He proved to be a wonderful asset.  We were able to teach him how to build this same system so that he could replicate it at his home and also teach others!  It was our goal to also convert him.  We studied with him for several days and on Wednesday we were blessed with the opportunity to baptize him into Christ!
The ladies at the Vidor, TX church of Christ spent many hours sewing dresses for the little girls at the orphanage.  I could not be more proud of the beautiful work these ladies put into sewing these dresses.  As you can see from the pictures below, the little girls loved them!

Brandon Myers, a young man from Schertz, TX (he grew up in Vidor, TX) went with on the trip and was a wonderful addition to our team.  He has a wonderful way of communicating with the young people from Haiti.  Brandon is planning on attending the Memphis School of Preaching this fall and I am confident that Brandon will do big things in the Kingdom in the future.  We could always find Brandon by just looking for a group of young people huddled in a circle!  By the time we were ready to leave Haiti, he had started learning the French-Creole language and was conversing with the kids pretty well.
Brandon Myers from Schertz, TX
We also were able to baptize two men on our last Sunday that we were in Haiti!  That made for 3 baptisms on the trip.
Gregg and Manius with the two men who were baptized!
Manius has sent me pictures of the tomatoes and they are growing beautifully!
Tomatoes after two weeks

Tomatoes after two weeks!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Funds Needed!

We currently need a substantial amount of funds for our work in Haiti!  We need money to send a shipping container full of goods for the orphans. We also need a vehicle for in Haiti to get from orphanage to orphanage and to help with other needs.  We also need daily funds for the orphans for food, clothes, and medical needs. If you can help please click on the donate link.  Thanks for helping us!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rescued Sow!

Yesterday I received an phone call from a neighbor who has several pigs.  He asked if I could help get his pigs out of a pen that was over one foot deep in mud and muck.  He had one sow, one boar, and two young pigs in the pen.  The sow was very pregnant and we could quickly see that she was close to giving birth.

We quickly moved my pigs in my barn into one pen.  It was raining and the temperature was dropping quickly.  We then began coaxing his pigs across his property to mine and into my barn.  They received a shower upon entry (they literally had inches of mud caked on them).  We then situated the sow in her own dry pen that was full of fresh dry hay.  One of the small pigs had been overcome by hypothermia and my wife transported it to the barn in a piggy ambulance (AKA wheelbarrow).  We washed all the muck off of it and got it put under a heat lamp on fresh dry hay.  Thankfully last night he  pulled through and is looking good this morning.  The sow gave birth in the middle of the night to 11 babies.  Four of them were still born but the rest are strong and look good this morning.  Thank goodness we moved them to the barn or not a one of them would have survived in the pen they were in.  They would have all drowned to death!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Big Help for Haiti Orphans

Our work has received a great blessing in the last few days. The Central Church of Christ in Moore, OK has donated a giant load of goods that was left over from the Tornado relief effort for the children in the four orphanages we work with in Haiti. 

 They have donated goods such as glasses, clothes, infant formula, dry food, shoes, hygiene products, shovels, rakes, hoes, diapers, wheel barrows, baby food, nutritional supplements, and much more! 

 Several ladies from the Tuttle, OK congregation made this connection possible and we are so thankful to them for their help!  We are planning on sending it to Haiti on a shipping container in several months.