There are many aerobic composting methods that can be used to create high-quality compost. There is also a variety of small-scale and commercial composting equipment that reduces the time and effort to mix materials properly. Some of the newest machines can be placed on the front or back of farm tractors, while others are self-propelled or do not move. The following compares the different aerobic composting methods and the machines they use.

Aerated static pile composting

Before starting aerated static pile composting, you must choose to place the piles inside a building or outdoors. Your decision should be based on your location’s climate. With this method, organic waste is mixed together inside a compost turner in one big pile or windrow. To aerate the pile, you must add bulking agents like wood chips or shredded newspaper to the mix. This allows the air to pass from the bottom to the top of the pile. Some operators choose to place their pile over a series of pipes that pump air automatically. This can be accomplished by activating a timer or setting a temperature server. Aerated static pile composting is best-suited for a mix of organic waste that is combined with a large quantity of yard trimmings or compatible solid waste. There is no need for physical turning, but the piles need constant monitoring to ensure the outside heats up to the same temperature as the core.

In-vessel composting

The in-vessel composting method begins with feeding organic waste into a drum, silo, or concrete-lined trench. This allows the operator to control environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture content, and aeration more closely. The machine used for this method has a mechanism system that turns the materials for proper aeration. Most in-vessel composting machines vary in size and capacity and users can process large amounts of waste without using much space. These can accommodate almost any type of organic waste. In-vessel composting produces very little odor as all of the extra moisture is removed quickly during the process. But. this is one of the more expensive methods to use when starting a composting operation and requires technical skills to accomplish.

Aerated turned windrow composting

Turned windrow composting is the perfect method for processing large volumes of organic waste. This method can be used by small, medium, and large operations. Some local government agencies will make compost available to local residents for little to no cost using turned windrow composting. The process is similar to other composting techniques as it puts the organic waste in rows to be aerated periodically by manual or mechanical turning. The size of the pile must be large enough to generate heat and maintain the temperature level required to change waste into compost. If the pile is too small, then there won’t be enough space to allow oxygen flow throughout the core of the pile.

How are windrows used in this process?

A windrow is a long pile of organic waste that is periodically aerated by turning, typically with a composting machine of some type. If the windrow is too large, it will release a foul odor during the course of turning. However, smaller windrows lose heat rapidly. These may never achieve the desired temperature needed to evaporate moisture and kill pathogens or weed seeds. This is the perfect situation for contamination to form inside the windrow. This is why knowing the optimum size for windrows is important.

How often should windrows be turned?

The frequency of turning depends on the rate of decomposition, moisture content, and porosity of the organic waste. The decomposition rate is largest at the start of the compost turning process because the need to turn lessens as the windrow ages. At first, your windrows may need daily turning, but this could decrease to weekly turnings.

Using a compost turner

Compost turners are available in many different styles and configurations. Choosing the right one for your operation is vital to the quality of your finished product. You can choose from straddle-type turners, augers, and and elevating face models to name a few. Straddle-type machines are the most common and these can be driven by a belt or hydraulic system. The best compost turners are easy to use, simple to maintain, and are made of high-quality materials that allow them to last for years. You can find these machines in various sizes and even have one custom-made for your operation. To turn windrows successfully, your equipment should be able to move smoothly and allow you to aerate the compost with ease.

Compost turners from SCARAB International

At SCARAB International, we understand the need for quality composting equipment. We can design and build compost turners to fit your specific needs. Our machines can be used for small, medium and large composting projects and we offer New, Refurbished, and Used compost turners. We also have Leasing Options available. Give us a call today at (806) 883-7621 or Contact Us via email to learn more about our Products.