Welcome to the Michigan SoilWorks CFT Learning Center

Congratulations on your interest in continuous flow vermicomposting! At Michigan SoilWorks, we manufacture the Michigan SoilWorks CFT, a precision-engineered, expandable, low-labor worm composting system.

We realize the purchase of an advanced vermicomposting system like a CFT is not taken lightly and we want our clients to be highly educated about a prospective purchase.

So we created this page with articles and videos to help you learn more about CFTs, to include information about their history, their current use, calculations of input and output capacities, frequently asked questions, and what you can expect after you purchase a Michigan SoilWorks CFT.

Experience the Michigan SoilWorks CFT

The Michigan Soilworks CFT is the new standard in medium-to-large scale vermicomposting systems. Precision and  durability are at the heart of our design, ensuring your CFT provides 10 years or more of worry-free service. These videos will demonstrate the Michigan SoilWorks’ manufacturer’s motivation and dedication to precision and quality found in this elegant machine. We’d love to hear more about your story and what you’d like to do! Let’s have a no-sales pitch discussion on what Michigan SoilWorks can help you accomplish!

Watch the Assembly of a Michigan SoilWorks CFT

The Michigan SoilWorks CFT seen in this video is a 16-ft model assembled by Dan Lonowski of Michigan SoilWorks and Steve Churchill of the Urban Worm Company. Assembly should take two adults roughly 4 hours for a two-module, 16-ft CFT.

Modular Design

Start with a single 8-ft base unit and grow from there. Add additional modules to increase your capacity when you want. Your initial investment is completely upgradable in the future.

Precision Engineered

Engineered for performance and durability, using 3D CAD modeling, FEA (finite element analysis), plasma cutting, computer-aided machining, and rigorous field testing. These also ensure compatibility with future modules as you expand your system.

 Engineered Materials

  • Polypropylene walls – impervious to moisture, will never decay

  • Corrosion-resistant steel cutting bar, cables and fasteners

  • Low-friction (HDPE) runner on guide rail

  • Cutting bar drive system with controller and sensors

  • Reversible high-torque 110V rectified DC gearmotor

How Do You Calculate Input and Output?

Calculating the input and output of any vermicomposting method depends on variables like climate, the quantity and type of feedstock, and the frequency and method of harvesting, producing a wide range of possible outcomes. CFTs provide a more consistent environment for vermicomposting, and thus we are able to provide our clients more accurate and predictable representations of input and output capacities. To learn more about how the assumptions behind our calculations, please see our Rates and Calculations page.

Business Opportunities with the Michigan SoilWorks CFT

A continuous flow vermicomposting bin is the linchpin of a low-labor, high-efficiency worm composting operation. Businesses of all sizes can leverage CFTs to save money on organic waste removal and fertilizer costs and by selling the worm castings to the expanding organic growing market.

Quick Reference Card

Sometimes it’s handy to have need-to-know information at your fingertips. Feel free to download this handy CFT vermicomposting quick reference card.

FAQs

How much feedstock can a Michigan SoilWorks CFT process?
Our smallest 4×8 foot single-module CFT can process 7 cubic feet (or 1/4 of a cubic yard or 25 gallons) of organic waste feedstock per week. These numbers increase linearly with the number of 8-foot modules. Processing Capacity

  • 8 feet: 7 cubic feet
  • 16 feet: 14 cubic feet
  • 24 feet: 21 cubic feet
  • 32 feet: 28 cubic feet
  • 40 feet: 35 cubic feet
What is the output of a Michigan SoilWorks CFT?
Our smallest 4×8 ft single module will produce 3.5 cubic feet of screened worm castings per week. Output Capacity

  • 8 feet: 3.5 cubic feet
  • 16 feet: 7 cubic feet
  • 24 feet: 10.5 cubic feet
  • 32 feet: 14 cubic feet
  • 40 feet: 17.5 cubic feet

Note: You will see somewhat different output numbers on our pricing table. This is to account for the difference between the screened castings and raw harvest output which includes not only the castings but also coarser, unprocessed material which can normally be recycled back into the CFT.

I am not in the US or Canada. Can I still purchase a Michigan SoilWorks CFT?
Absolutely! We work with an export agent to provide worldwide delivery capability. Shipping and export/import costs vary by location. Note: If you need to import composting earthworms, it is advisable to check with your local customs officials to remain in compliance with local regulations.
What are the sizes of your CFTs?
All Michigan SoilWorks CFTs are 4 feet wide and come in 8 foot modules. We sell up to a 40-foot model (5 modules). We recommend multiple lines if you need larger than a 40-foot model.
How much space do I need around a Michigan SoilWorks CFT?
6 feet is recommended along the main working side or aisle, while 4 to 5 feet of working area around the other sides of the CFT is recommended.
I would like to build this CFT myself. Do you sell the plans?
At this time, we do not offer plans for our CFTs. However, our plans are highly requested and we are considering offering them in the future. Please e-mail us to be added to a notification list if the plans become available for purchase.
What kind of worms should I use in my CFT?
Years of experience indicate the worms listed below are the most appropriate for CFTs. And the species you use depends upon your climate. Note: If you are vermicomposting in a climate-controlled environment, you may be able to employ an earthworm species that may otherwise not be optimal for your climate. Temperate Climate Species

  1. Eisenia fetida (Red wiggler)
  2. Eisenia andrei
  3. Lumbricus rubellus
  4. Eisenia hortensis; Dendrobaena veneta (European nightcrawler, ENC, Belgians, Super Reds) NOTE:  European nightcrawlers burrow deeper than red wigglers and may not be the optimal choice for CFTs.

Tropical Climate Species

  1. Eudrilus eugeniae  (African nightcrawler, ANC) Note: African nightcrawlers also burrow deeper than red wigglers and some users report that African nightcrawler castings are susceptible to falling through the CFT’s mesh prior to harvest.
  2. Perionyx excavatus ( Malaysian / Indian Blue)
How many worms should I purchase for my Michigan SoilWorks CFT?
We recommend an initial stocking density of 1/2 lb per square foot. In our smallest single module CFT which features 32 square feet of vermicomposting surface area, this would equate to 16 lbs of composting worms. Ultimately, the population will grow to a density of 1-2 lbs per square foot, but we advise starting out with a smaller quantity and allowing the worms to grow into the space.
What is the payback time on a Michigan SoilWorks CFT?
This depends on the size of your CFT and the assumed market price you can expect for the output. For a 16 foot model, we conservatively project a 17-18 month payback period to account for the 20 weeks of startup time followed by 12 to 13 months of vermicompost/worm castings sales. Larger systems tend to have faster payback periods. Note: This payback period is reduced if you are saving on waste disposal fees by using the Michigan SoilWorks CFT.
Is there financing available for a CFT purchase?
Yes, we can help arrange financing through agricultural equipment financing firms like Farm Credit Leasing Services Corporation and others.

The First 20 Weeks with Your Michigan SoilWorks CFT

The First 20 Weeks with Your Michigan SoilWorks CFT

Week 0

Initial Startup

  • Assemble the CFT
  • Line grating with paper
  • Add 8 inches of bedding and 4 inches of feedstock
  • Add composting worms at 1/2lb per square foot
Week 4

First Consultation with Michigan SoilWorks

R
Weeks 1-14

Filling It Up

Add 2 inches of feedstock per week and water your CFT

Week 15

Second Consultation with Michigan SoilWorks

R
Weeks 15-16

Harvesting the Base Layer

  • Harvest 1 round trip to remove base bedding
  • Recycle bedding material back into bin
  • Add 2 inches of feedstock 2 times per week
R
Week 17

First Production Harvest!

  • Harvest 1 round trip per week
  • Add 2 inches of feedstock 2x per week
R
Weeks 18-20

Cruise Control

  • Continue harvesting one round trip per week
  • Continue adding 2 inches of feedstock 2 times per week
Week 20

Third Consultation with Michigan SoilWorks

You're Off and Running!

Your Michigan SoilWorks CFT has reached production-level efficiency and will now be producing rich vermicompost for sale or for use in your operation.

Michigan SoilWorks will remain available to  answer any questions you may have along the way.

Tell us about your plans – and find out which Michigan SoilWorks Vermicomposter is right for you.