The Role Of Compost In The Modern Agricultural Industry

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Compost is an organic matter that is broken down by microbes into nutrients that support crop growth. Composting has been around for centuries. Farmers began mastering this method as a means to create fertilizer, but at the end of World War II, the world shifted from organic to chemical-based fertilizers. It was believed chemical-based fertilizers were safer and cheaper. By the turn of the century, organic composting made a comeback due to concerns about environmental health.

The following will detail the basics of composting and how your can incorporate large-scale composting into your operations.

The benefits of composting

If you are concerned about damage to the environment or filling landfills in and around your city, composting may be an effective tool for you. Composting removes many types of waste that would ordinarily end up in a landfill. This is one reason municipalities are running their own composting operations.

Food that is grown using organic composting methods is now popular in U.S. and European markets because many prefer chemical-free foods. Incorporating organic composting methods into your facility could drive up sales and increase your profit. In fact, food that is grown organically is one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. The increasing demand for these foods undoubtedly will result in a rise in demand for organic composting.

A side-effect of chemical fertilizers has been the rise of drug and chemical-resistant forms of insects and bacteria that consume crops. Organic composting methods fight this by getting rid of the need for chemical fertilizers.

If you compost with organic materials, you also avoid the swings in prices related to oil. Chemical fertilizers are hydrocarbon-based (i.e., oil), so as the price of oil changes, so will the cost of your fertilizers. Organic composting allows you to use your own waste to create fertilizer. This means you not only save money by avoiding price fluctuations, but you do not have to worry about where to find composting materials.

As you probably noticed, the agriculture industry consumes significant amounts of water. Organic compost retains four times as much water as chemical fertilizers. So, if you use rain water, it will last four times longer than if you had used chemical fertilizers, saving you even more money.

What is large-scale composting?

Large-scale composting consists of gathering all the organic waste your property produces and assembling it into windrows. Windrows are long piles of material set-up in rows or piles, depending on your space. Windrows should be covered or kept semi-indoors. They allow bacteria to breakdown the organic material in a cost-effective manner, especially when turned with a composting machine.

As the windrows compost, you will see that their temperatures rise. This is a natural reaction from the bacteria doing their work. Too much water can interrupt this process, so the piles need to be covered. After weeks to months, depending upon your needs, you will have organic compost ready to be used. Once your harvesting season ends, you you can create new windrows that should be ready for the next growing season.

How compost turners work

A critical step in composting is turning the windrows. Your compost needs to be turned to encourage the process and ensure uniform breakdown of the organic material. Compost turner machines come in a variety of sizes and styles. You can even find companies that will build custom machines for your operation. It is best to calculate the size of your windrows to figure out the size of the compost turner you will need.

Do you need a compost turner?

Scarab International offers a variety of composting machines that will make a cost-effective addition to your operations. Our turners can be self-propelled or pulled by a tractor. We carry models of various sizes, ideal for small, medium, and large-scale composting jobs. If you would like more information about our compost turners, give us a call at (806) 883-7621 or Contact Us via email. We offer New, Used, Refurbished, and Leasing Options.