Composting operations of many sizes create and sell their product for many uses. Everyone from home gardeners to farmers relies on high-quality compost and fertilizer. If you’re looking to meet the demand in your area, speeding up the commercial composting process will help. Here are five ways to do this!
1. Use hot composting
If you use aerobic composting methods, you can try the hot composting method to speed things along. The idea is to increase the heat the microbes generate, which results in a faster decomposition process. The heat also kills weeds, which can interfere with the balance of nutrients. Try covering the piles for a while or building them in an area with direct sunlight.
2. Make larger piles
Bigger piles will retain heat better. But, they can be more difficult to manage. One option to have larger piles that are easier to maintain is to make long piles called windrows. These should be 9 to 20 feet wide and 3 to 12 feet high. When you make your piles, place a layer of twigs underneath, and be sure to chop up all of the ingredients into smaller bits. Aerobic composting is the fastest method, but taking these steps will help speed up the process.
3. Add nitrogen to the mixture
If your compost piles are not processing quickly, the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio could be off. Too much carbon will slow the process down, so add in some green items to balance the ratio out. These include manure, kitchen waste, and grass clippings.
4. Monitor and manage the moisture content
Moisture levels are just as important as nutrient ratios. If there is too much moisture, the temperature will decrease. Water will fill the air pockets, which takes oxygen away from the microorganisms that break down the materials in the piles. This results in a slower composting process. If you find your piles are too wet, try adding some drier materials like paper or cardboard scraps.
5. Turn your compost piles
This is one of the most important steps for commercial composters to take. Turning compost gives the microorganisms more oxygen and access to nutrients. For larger operations, it can be helpful to have a compost turner machine instead of turning by hand. You can find a variety of machines that are both tractor-driven and self-propelled.
There is a lot of information out there about how often you need to turn compost. Some say every day to every two days is the perfect schedule for turning. Others say once a week is sufficient. It is also known that turning the mixture more often within the first ten to fifteen days can help reduce moisture. The best thing to do is evaluate your piles and see what works best for your specific operation.
Looking for a commercial compost turner that can get the job done?
The experts at SCARAB International can help you decide what type of compost turner is best for your business. We understand that each operation is unique, so we provide a variety of machines including Custom, New, Used, and Refurbished turners, as well as Leasing options. You can reach us at (806) 883-7621 or send us an Email to learn more!