“Those cows are able to take all those different starches and fats and sugars and essentially ‘pull the glove’ off,” he says, describing how the animals break down the tough fibers and macronutrients so that time and weather don’t have to. “There’s not technology even remotely close to being able to do that -- as advanced as we are, we can’t come close to what the cow’s gut can do. To not only produce milk, but to produce plant food. The cow does the hard work -- transforming those proteins and sugars into nitrogen, phosphate, organic matter.”
Not that Allred doesn’t do hard work, too. His job -- or as he puts it, his responsibility -- is to extract that chemical goodness in an energy-efficient manner, with as little waste as possible, to give plants a powerhouse meal that charges up their growth. So how does the farm turn stinky cow manure into clean irrigation water?