The Importance Of Turning Your Commercial Compost

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
composting business tips

Making commercial compost takes more than putting waste in piles and waiting. One of the most important ways to ensure you have a high-quality product is to turn the mixture. To do this correctly, you will need to know which is the best method to use and how often to turn the mixture.

The benefits of turning compost

Good commercial compost needs aerobic organisms and they rely on the right balance of oxygen and moisture. In order to keep the balance of nutrients, air, and moisture consistent, you must turn your compost. Doing this ensures that the right temperature is maintained throughout the process and that it is odor-free.

Compost turning methods

When it comes to commercial composting, you have a few options available. The one you choose will depend upon how you conduct your operation. Here are the main composting and turning methods.

Aerated static pile composting

With this method, you will have all of your compost in one large pile. It can be indoors or outdoors, depending on your climate. Turning is done with a compost turner, but you will also need to use bulking agents to help aerate the mixture.

Operators sometimes place the pile over a system of tubing that brings in air from the bottom of the pile. With this method, turning isn’t needed, but more monitoring should be done to ensure proper temperatures are reached.

In-vessel composting

This type of composting is done inside a regulated vessel, like a drum, trench, or silo. Operators can control the environment for the compost including the temperature, airflow, and moisture content with ease. The vessel itself can turn the mixture, which means it is one of the easiest turning methods, or you can turn it manually.

This option is versatile because it can be done almost anywhere and produces compost from almost any organic material. However, it is one of the most expensive methods and requires professionals with technical skills to be successful.

Aerated turned windrow composting

This method is great for small, medium, and large commercial composting operations. Windrows are long piles of compost that can be placed indoors or outdoors. Their shape is ideal for creating high-quality compost because it can be easily maintained.

You can turn the mixture manually or use a specialized compost turner machine. These come in a variety of sizes and have varying features to suit the individual needs of your operation.

How often should I turn my compost?

The frequency at which you turn your compost piles depends on many factors. Moisture content, material composition, moisture content, and external temperatures all play a role. You will likely need to turn the mixture more at the beginning of its decomposition. Here are some other facts that can help you determine how often to do this step.

  • A high moisture content reduces the porosity of the mixture, which means that less air can get in. This reduces the stability of the pile as well.
  • Turning more often within the first ten to fifteen days can help decrease moisture content and create more pockets for air.
  • Remember, the microbes that cause the decomposition process need air to live. They also require moisture and nutrients at the right amounts to thrive.
  • You must balance the C:N ratio of the materials to create a good biological environment for the microbes.

Custom compost turners made in America

If you are looking for a custom compost turner for your commercial composting operation, the experts at SCARAB International can help. We understand that each operation is unique, so we provide a variety of machines. We offer custom, New, Used, and Refurbished turners as well as Leasing options. You can reach us at (806) 883-7621 to learn more.