Heartland Compost Sensors: A Case Study for Use

Mike Johnson, owner of Heartland Sustainable, is using technology for Operations Optimization. The 20-year-old company has segued into a composting vertical that complements his existing Heartland Farm Services. (www.heartlandsustainable.com)  Currently Johnson manages 8 rows of organic compost 8’ H x 25’ W x 300’ L.  This equates to 6000 cubic yards of organic material that needs to be maintained for optimal aerobic processing.  The final product is sold to companies whose interests are in water management, landfill waste reduction, improving soil health, disease resistant products, and erosion/soil compaction. These companies often include Landscapers, Garden Centers through Fibertech Premium Mulch.

To qualify as a premium mulch and compost supplier Heartland must adhere to the US Composting Council guidelines. STA Certified Compost membership requires ingredient transparency, quarterly lab testing of material and instructions for use.

To maintain the high standards for this premium product, Summit Smart Farms has partnered with Heartland in providing a compost monitoring system that is simple, reliable, and scalable. The basic premise is a series of temperature sensors placed in the compost at 75’ intervals and communicates via wireless monitoring technology. The proprietary core technology offers 98% percent communications reliability.  The SSF Click App offers alerts, data at-a-glance, device monitoring and user management via cell phone or computer. The SSF cloud offers a secure data package, Robust API access, integrates data from other platforms and easily integrates into 3rd party applications. 




  • Lightweight durable sensor probes – up to 20 per gateway
  • Battery/solar powered devices
  • Wireless technology
  • Expandable Gateway for other sensors 
  • Cost effective complete turnkey solution (We do it all)

Return on investment

The installation and use of this technology have allowed Heartland Sustainable economic return on investment while maintaining professional acumen and high standards.

  • Remote monitoring has allowed employees to engage in other value added, revenue generating activities.
    • Equipment ROI is 36 weeks 
    • Allows owner to charge out employee time for revenue generation
    • Eliminates paperwork as data can be directly downloaded
  • Accurate temperature monitoring has facilitated optimum process control for turning product into revenue.
  • Better product has allowed for premium pricing models
  • Risk mitigation 
    • Eliminates spontaneous combustion events
    • Promotes “Green” initiatives
    • Has reduced “bad product” haulage fees to dump

“A compost windrow will tell you what it needs by monitoring temperature, moisture and Oxygen levels. SSF has come up with technology that gives me instant data.  Data is knowledge.  Literally, the windrows talk to me through this technology every day and tell me what they need.  This technology has contributed to the bottom line and optimized my operations. Thanks, SSF.”  Mike Johnson, Owner/President of Heartland Sustainable

(ROI is also known as the payback period and is often expressed in a period, such as weeks, months or years. The calculation is based on how long it will take to earn back — in the savings generated — the cost of the investment required to purchase a piece of equipment. Normally, a payback period of one to three years is considered acceptable and a good investment, as this would leave two additional years of expected useful life for most pieces of equipment.)


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