Australia gets ‘Wise’ about compost

Carbon is the basis of all life on Earth, and when organic carbon is added to soil, it naturally promotes healthy plant growth. One Western-Australia based compost specialist has teamed up with Volvo Construction Equipment to give Mother Nature a helping hand.

C-Wise, an end-to-end provider of waste management and soil improvement solutions, is doing its part to manage the Earth’s resources intelligently. This means helping its customers to benefit from replenishing organic carbon into depleted soils — promoting healthy, sustainable plant growth. After 16 years, founding partners Andy Gulliver and Dave Cullen, still proudly lead the company, recently rebranded as C-Wise from the former name, Custom Composts.
The company, based in Nambeelup, Western Australia, operates three distinct categories: C-Renewal, the arm of the business dedicated to organic waste management; C-Life, the production of humus rich composts and mulches; and C-Balance, producing carbon-rich soil and plant growth treatments for sustainable farming. Cullen says: “We have come a long way since 1996 when we started out with just five people – we’re now 25 and growing. But our vision of improving the way food is grown has remained the same.”
C-Wise’s philosophy of promoting sustainable farming methods using carbon-balanced soil is based on years of research and development by its in-house chemists, soil and waste specialists – even a zoologist. The company works with contractors that have similar values to its own — and that makes Volvo Construction Equipment a perfect match.
The company’s growing fleet now includes four L90F wheel loaders, fitted with Volvo Genuine buckets. They are used to shift waste from the food and agricultural industries, pig and chicken manure and materials from the forestry and mining sectors, and prepare the materials in piles for the composting process to begin. The wheel loaders are integral for the management of the compost process and are occupied up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.
The operators’ choice
Clint Liddelow, production manager at C-Wise, says: “When our operators are working 12-hour shifts in the machines, we want to make sure they’re comfortable. They really like the Volvo machines over any other brand. Some even joke that they feel like they’re cheating us because after their shift they feel like they’ve only done three quarters of the time, thanks to the comfort drive control (CDC) steering, low interior sound level and comfortable cabin, which make handling the machines easy.”

For Liddelow, comfortable operators result in extra productivity, but that’s not all. “The environment we work in is quite dirty and corrosive, and it’s essential the machines be kept clean,” he says. “Volvo design makes it easy and safe to carry out maintenance and cleaning. Volvo really has thought of its machines from an operator’s perspective – even the little things like easy-to-sweep floors.”
Volvo machines also come equipped with on-board telematics that allow owners to remotely monitor fuel consumption and productivity. “Systems like MATRIS and CareTrack act as a tool for our operators — we use the data to train them on how to improve their overall performance and maximize fuel efficiency,” Liddelow explains. “At the moment we’re using between 8-10 liters per hour across the machines, which we’re very happy with.”
A bright future
With business flourishing, C-Wise is looking ahead and planning further expansion. “We are currently investigating the prospect of opening another site,” says Dave Cullen. “As the company moves into its next chapter, we will embrace new technology in all areas of our production, and Volvo machinery is a part of this. As our company – and our fleet of machines – grows, tools such as MATRIS and CareTrack become even more valuable to us as they allow for remote management and provide us with data to enhance efficiency and productivity.”
Source: Volvo Construction Equipment