Getting an Edge with Mulch Master

When California based Bakke Ag Services wanted to improve the efficiency and productivity of their already thriving composting operations they had no hesitation in investing in an EDGE Innovate FTS75 Mulch Master, a decision that has helped transformed this family owned and run business.

Matt Bakke, founder and CEO, started the company in 1988 primarily as a green chop and trucking company.  Over time, he developed and adapted the business and in 2015 diversified into a highly successful composting operation.

Today, taking a hands-on approach in the business, Bakke Ag Services has become a one-stop shop providing high-quantity silage, manure, compost, dairy cleanout, and soil amendments to a wide customer base from its location in Tulare County.

“Composting has become our main bread and butter,” says the company’s Ian Baake. “We now run two different composting facilities in Tulare, handling raw input of materials from diaries including separated manure, and we have an offshoot operation processing agricultural green waste of different varieties, and different densities and moisture levels, combining all of those into one high quality, consistent compost product.

“There was a need in our operation to consolidate space to provide us with a more effective and efficient operation.  It was that which led us to invest in the EDGE FTS75 Mulch Master. What appealed to us about the machine was its efficiency on fuel consumption, its ease of use for the operator and its space saving technology – and we can do more in much less time.”

The EDGE FTS75 Mulch Master was supplied by official dealers for California & Hawaii, GreenRock Equipment who were appointed back in 2016. Based in Orange County, its co-founders Shea McKiver and John Connolly, are former employees of EDGE Innovate.  Therefore, they have a winning combination of field and factory experience, giving them a wealth of knowledge of the EDGE Innovate product portfolio – knowledge that Bakke Ag Services have successfully been able to tap into.

The EDGE FTS75 Mulch Master is a portable feed stacker that combines traditional flipping and rotation with constant material flow to overcome four traditional problems commercial compost producers have faced when attempting to stockpile mulch  – compaction, contamination, material bridging and risk of combustion.  It also gives you a cheaper alternative to a windrow turner.

Said to set new standards in the turning and blending of organic material, it has been designed specifically for the stockpiling of lower density, bulky materials such as mulch, compost and soils. It boasts a huge hopper capacity of 19.6yrds³, and a 25% additional buffer capacity over the standard EDGE FTS units with a bespoke hopper design to prevent material bridging. 

The variable high-speed feeder conveyor enables an even spread of material and is further regulated via the double screwed forward/reverse auger. The auger fulfils two roles; it conditions material by flipping and rotation allowing the material to separate, aerate and untangle as well regulating the flow of material and preventing material bridging at the transfer point.

It can receive loads directly from loader, crusher, screener or grinder and eliminates the need for a separate feeder and stockpiler units.  It is also designed for quick and easy transportation via low-loader.

“The EDGE FTS75 Mulch Master is a low-cost machine that gives us a high rate of return

– you are not going to find a better, more efficient and productive machine anywhere…”

Adds Ian Baake: “This piece of equipment is extremely diverse in that not only can you handle raw product with ease – it never jams – the power it has is unreal and unmatched. We do various operations with it – from blending materials, bringing in fertilisers and gypsum and material from other mining operations to create one soil blend for our growers. You can do all that with this equipment, that’s not going to happen with other machines – and it is so straightforward for the operator to use compared to other machines in its class.

“As far as composting goes, moisture is critical in the process.  We always want to stay within a consistent moisture rating and luckily for us, the EDGE FTS75 gives us the opportunity to add moisture as we go.  We can fine tune the moisture during the process. The machine’s spray bar is super effective and easy to use.  You can adjust it accordingly. It is a simple system and is really easy to maintain.  We have been running 2,000 plus hours and never had an issue with the spray bar.”

As we mentioned, one of the hazards in dealing with composting is the potential for combustion, but the design of the EDGE FTS75 goes a long way to eliminate that fire risk.

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“Its stacking capability is very good, creating a tidy tepee-shaped pile that drastically diminishes the fire risk,” says Ian. “We have yet to see any major issue with this machine in that regard, so we can sleep easy at night knowing we have not only done everything we possibly can to prevent combustion.  But with the EDGE FTS75, we have gone above and beyond what is needed as far as fire prevention goes.” 

Ian is also very complimentary about the support and service they receive from GreenRock Equipment. “It’s phenomenal. John and Shea and their team are just incredible people to work with. They are experts in their field and only ever only a phone call away. They know the machines like the back of their hand. They understand what potential problems can arise and know how to quickly solve them.

“They visit us on site at least once a month to ensure the machine is running as it should, which is very reassuring and the availability of parts is second to none  If we ever need a wear part, it is just a matter of making the call, knowing they keep good stocks.

“The EDGE FTS75 Mulch Master is a low-cost machine that gives us a high rate of return. Its space saving technology, reliability and efficiencies are, in my opinion, unmatched and I firmly believe that this machine will never become obsolete in our industry.  You are not going to find a better, more efficient and productive machine anywhere.”