If you have decided to join the organic farming industry as a composter, you should keep a few things in mind. One of these factors is that you will be a vital asset. Another thing to remember is that you are essentially microbe farming. Here are some tips to help increase the success of your commercial composting operation.

You should be farming aerobic microbes

Aerobic microbes get their oxygen from the air around them, rather than water like anaerobic microbes. Anaerobic microbes are slow-acting and produce a terrible stench, so they are not ideal for creating large amounts of compost. There are many ways to farm healthy aerobic microbes, or rather, common methods of commercial aerobic composting.

In-vessel composting

This method begins when you feed waste into a drum, silo, or concrete-lined trench. Using this method allows you to monitor the aeration, temperature, and moisture levels more closely. The machines used for this method will turn the compost to allow for proper air flow. Most of them vary in size to suit different operations and produce little odor. But, in-vessel composting is one of the more expensive methods.

Static pile composting

When you choose to use this method, you will need to first find where your piles will be located. Indoor piles are better in some climates while outdoor piles are better in others. To foster good aerobic microbe growth, you must use bulking agents like shredded newspaper or wood chips. You can also use pipes with a series of holes in them to introduce air. This method allows you to avoid turning, but you must constantly monitor the temperature levels.

Turned windrow composting

This composting method is perfect for operations of any size. The process of windrow composting is similar to other methods. The piles (in this case, long ones known as windrows), must be turned and closely monitored. The main difference is how the piles are turned. You must use a composting machine to turn the piles, like a large windrow turner. The long piles can be easier to maintain, especially with the right machine.

Taking care of the aerobic microbes

In order to make high-quality compost, you must maintain your microbes. It is vital that you provide them with nutrients and oxygen, as well as water. They breathe oxygen, release CO2, and require water like any other life form, but are more sensitive to environmental factors. Here are some tips to help you take care of your microbes and commercial compost.
    1. Make sure the feedstock you provide is of good quality.
    2. Learn about what can and cannot go into your windrows.
    3. Provide water to the microbes, but not too much.
    4. You should have the right equipment to turn your windrows. A compost turner is usually your best bet.
    5. You must know when to turn your piles.
    6. When turning your piles, the machines must do the following:
        • Break up the feedstock
        • Break up the microbe colonies too
        • Mix the compost consistently
        • Replace the CO2 with oxygen
        • Move lighter contaminants, like plastic, to the outer portion of the windrow

Looking for help starting your commercial composting operation?

If you would like to learn more about taking care of your compost piles or which compost turner to use, SCARAB International can help. We provide a variety of Compost Turners including New, Used, and Refurbished, and custom options. Check out our News page for more tips or give us a call at (806) 883-7621 for more information. You can also Send Us an Email to see how SCARAB can help you get the equipment you need!