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The economics of black soldier fly production

How much could you expect to save by implementing a black soldier fly operation on your farm? How valuable is a ton of black soldier fly larvae? These questions and many more are discussed in the presentation.
by Wallace Campbell on 10 October 2013

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Transcript of The economics of black soldier fly production

Black soldier fly economics: What factors determine cost effectiveness?
Wallace Campbell
Characteristics
Reduced feeding costs
Larvae can be fed directly (live) to
poultry,
swine, and
fish.
High quality soil amendment
The composting process sufficiently reduces nutrient levels in the manure so that the residual can be directly applied as a soil amendment in larger quantities than fresh manure.
Small-scale production system
Outputs are used on-farm
Revenue is derived from reducing costs
Does not require larvae refining equipment
Output values
With black soldier fly composting, one dry ton of organic waste can be converted into...
Between 160 and 400 pounds of dry larvae
$48 - $120 as a substitute for grain-based protein feeds
$112 - $288 as a substitute for fish meal
Between 1200 - 1600 pounds of residual compost / fertilizer
Production potential
Refined animal feed (approximate prices from USDA):
$1,441 per ton for fish meal (60% protein)
$600 per ton for swine and poultry protein feed
Values would be higher if the feed becomes certified organic!
Lipids:
$4 per gallon as biodiesel
$7 per gallon as an industrial lubricant
Compost:
$168 per ton
Value depends in part upon the input waste

Characteristics
Benefits of refinement
Increases the protein content from 42% to 62%
Refined larvae can be used in larger quantities as a feed substitute
Control over the final nutrient content of the feed
Dried pellets are more storable than fresh larvae
The lipids can be sold or processed into biodiesel
Large-scale production system
Outputs are used on-site, not sold on the open market
Revenue is derived from reducing costs
Larvae are refined into multiple outputs
How much money can you expect to make (save) by composting a ton of manure?
Should you refine larvae on-site?
What is the value of a pound of larvae?
Economic questions
It depends upon...
Quantity and type of organic waste,
Does black soldier fly composting make economic sense for your farm?
Manure management expenses before and after implementing a composting system,
Cost of animal feed,
The structure of the farm: concentrated or dispersed,
The weather,
I'll stop there.
Costs
Substantial startup / capital costs
Oil expeller press
Biodiesel production equipment
Refining facility
Requires skilled labor
Only viable for large concentrated animal farms or large-scale food production operations
Characteristics
Individual farmers produce larvae
A centralized refiner pays the farmers to collect larvae
The refiner sells the outputs on the open market or distributes the outputs to the farmers in the network
Costs
Minimal monetary investment in compost bin construction or purchase
Labor time required to "feed" and monitor the compost basin
Revenues
Sale of larvae to the refiner
To induce the farmer to sell larvae, the price that the refiner offers must be greater than the value of the unrefined larvae
Distributed larvae production
Costs for the refiner
Building facility
Refining equipment:
Expeller,
Biodiesel equipment
Purchase of larvae
Transportation
Labor
Revenues
Sale of outputs:
Refined animal feed - high protein, low fat
Biodiesel
Compost and fertilizer
Benefits
Costs
Transporting manure
Monitoring the compost bin
Attending workshops
Material cost of the compost bin
Labor and materials
Farmer
Refiner
What is the break-even level of production?
Conclusion
The outputs from black soldier fly composting are worth more than the input (fresh manure).
Keys to economic success in a small-scale operation:
Minimize the amount of labor required to feed the compost bin.
Maximize the conversion rate from waste to larvae.
Factors that would increase the economic attractiveness of black soldier fly composting:
An increase in the prices of outputs: feed, fuel, and fertilizer.
An increase in waste disposal costs.

Total value of $187 - $347, depending upon larvae conversion rates and the end use of the feed.

Which is much more than a ton of manure!
See the full transcript