Composting Dung??

CastleM

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Southern Ireland
I was wondering how you guys have been getting on making compost since these posts 5 years ago? Have your systems evolved much since? Have techniques changes? Has anyone given up and decided its not worth it?

Trying to get started here. Have FYM, horse manure, chicken litter, straw and old silage on site. Trying to figure out what to mix and in what quantities in the windrows.

Also, do you add water or cover rows to try and keep the moisture correct? or are you simply at the mercy of the weather on that one?

Any help much appreciated!!
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
It might depend on where you are, rainfall-wise, but in this part of the country the ingredients that you're describing would make perfect compost without watering or covering...but you'll need to mix them thoroughly and regularly. We found a lovely mixer last year, or rather it found us and it has really transformed the job. Turning with a 360 didn't really do the job and was painfully slow.

It's a bit of trial and error, working out the right proportions to add...chicken litter is rocket fuel obviously , so you'd want to mix that with plenty of high carbon stuff, straw or horse bedding, then plonk the rest in as it comes. A good mixer will chew it all up and aerate and mix it, the bugs will get the temperature right up (you don't want to get it above 70 degrees or you'll wipe out all the best bugs) and you'll end up with a tiny heap of compost...it's amazing how much disappears, but what is left is like gold-dust. Where we spread it last year our crops are way ahead of everywhere else and healthier. Go for it!
 

CastleM

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Southern Ireland
Thank you, that's very encouraging!

We have a turner, as yet unused, but looking forward to getting it going shortly.

So was it mostly trial and error with you guys starting off? Did you send off samples to get the C:N ratios of the different materials to begin with or am I getting far to scientific for this?

I have a few temp probes for grain. My current notion is try a few different rows with various mixes. Once anything get above 60 degrees, turn it. Once it stops heating up, it's done. Sound ok?

Do you use any fresh green material to get it heated up? I'm worried it might just sit there cold and not get going.
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
Thank you, that's very encouraging!

We have a turner, as yet unused, but looking forward to getting it going shortly.

So was it mostly trial and error with you guys starting off? Did you send off samples to get the C:N ratios of the different materials to begin with or am I getting far to scientific for this?

I have a few temp probes for grain. My current notion is try a few different rows with various mixes. Once anything get above 60 degrees, turn it. Once it stops heating up, it's done. Sound ok?

Do you use any fresh green material to get it heated up? I'm worried it might just sit there cold and not get going.
We found it got up to 70 degrees within a day or two of first turning, so mixing was fairly full on for a week or so until it cooled down. We added some ReMin rock dust to some heaps which seemed to turbocharge the process. Didn't bother with green stuff, but added a lot of tree-surgeon type woodchip (which had some green in it, it steams a bit on its own, but never gets very hot, it has a very high C:N ratio). Basically if you get air into the heap and the materials are right, then it'll cook.
 

PSQ

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Scottish Borders
For the compost gurus: I turned a windrow of pig manure last week, and noticed that some of it has 'cooked' itself to grey ash. Obviously it has been too hot (70 degrees plus), and I'm guessing the windrows have been too deep and not turned enough.
I do have a compost thermometer but the manure was dumped in the field mid winter, and there wasn't a hope of getting the loader in without trashing the rest of the headland.
Should the help be turned when it reaches 43 degrees C?
 

cows r us

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Buckinghamshire
For the compost gurus: I turned a windrow of pig manure last week, and noticed that some of it has 'cooked' itself to grey ash. Obviously it has been too hot (70 degrees plus), and I'm guessing the windrows have been too deep and not turned enough.
I do have a compost thermometer but the manure was dumped in the field mid winter, and there wasn't a hope of getting the loader in without trashing the rest of the headland.
Should the help be turned when it reaches 43 degrees C?
Are you sure it is ash that your seeing. When a pile starts to go anaerobic a certain type of bacteria will reproduce (usually about a foot into the pile) they are actinomycetes. They give compost the earthy smell. They reproduce in chains, a little bit like fungi and are grey and white in colour.
 

Cowlife

Member
I d love to try compost but all I can get to start with is cow slurry or imported chicken litter.
How long would the litter need to lie to get close to what you are talking about and is worthwhile compared to applying straight
 

Speculative coverage on the gene editing consultation response

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Speculative coverage on the gene editing consultation response

Written by Defra Press Office

image-of-a-field-620x413.jpg


There has been coverage today in the I and the Guardian, reporting on speculation around the upcoming government response to the recent Gene Editing consultation, which closed on 17th March.

A full government response, which will include a thorough analysis and summary of the responses to the consultation and which will set out our next steps, will be published in due course.

Gene editing has the ability to harness the genetic resources that mother nature has provided, such as breeding...
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