Making compost - tips please!

Spud

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
YO62
I am looking at the potential of making compost as a soil improver, partly to get more benefit from the muck on the farm.
I've done a little reading, but need to do more. Malcolm Beck seems to be a man that talks in practical terms, think I'll have a read of his book.

Currently we produce about 1200t of fym per year, due to rise to 2000t within a year, all straw based
We have some grass that we currently make hay of, that potentially could become a compost ingredient
Bark peelings are available locally at sensible money
Limex a likely addition?
Adding more straw is also a possibility.

What is unclear is the C:N target - some say 1:1, some say as much as 30:1 Carbon:Nitrogen ratio.

Some say muck is a carbon source, some say its a nitrogen source.

I don't want to create a lot of work and worry for nothing, but would like to maximise what I have got.

Thank you
 

le bon paysan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Limousin, France
Tip your feed stock in a line and turn every 2/3 weeks x 2 times, once more at a month or so. I've used a bobcat to turn the pile ,start at 1 end bobcat turns 180 degrees and start moving along.
 

Simon C

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Essex Coast
 

le bon paysan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Limousin, France
Grass is is something to add if the feed stock is dry. Feed stock must be moist but not wet. Hay is perfect for composting just add water to it, not a lot and stack . C N ratio is 25 to 1, just turn a little more.
 

le bon paysan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Limousin, France
I always assume leaf and stalk as carbon (hay or straw) manure as nitrogen.
Wood products take a lot longer to compost some times up to 2 yrs but is good stuff, it needs more turning.
 
Last edited:

Wisconsonian

Member
Trade
The 1:1 ratio was probably referring to one part of carbon type material to one part of nitrogen type material, for homeowner use. So one part dry leaves to one part grass clippings would work decent.

Wood products are sometimes used to balance high nitrogen, like chicken or pig manure, or carcasses. Cattle, sheep manure should be fairly balanced with typical diet and bedding. Plus the diet part has been predigested, so a big headstart over other materials.
 
I'm interested in compost.

But is it so much better than just spreading the FYM? Real question.

If I composted hay in this area, neighbours would be eyeing up my land to farm themselves. BUT I'm considering dropping haylage as a crop & going all little bale hay & composting anything that is sub standard. I've devalued too much hay by panicking everytime I see a black cloud & getting the wrapper in.

Can wood chip cause scabbing on potatoes?

Charles Downing gardening guro does interesting videos on compost
 

le bon paysan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Limousin, France
Can't answer everything in your post,but some I maybe able to help with some. Compost on grass can be spread in the spring before mowing if well made, black and friable, no straw left or VERY little left, plenty of turning needed. This breaks down quickly and disappears. Think FYM as fert. compost as a conditioner. nPK is available in both. Chain harrowing is advisable in both cases.
Making compost IS a good idea but it takes time(money). Make it in a quiet corner away from prying eyes to start with. It does not happen over night, it's a long term thing. Getting the fungi bacteria in better balance in the soil is never a bad thing.
 
I am looking at the potential of making compost as a soil improver, partly to get more benefit from the muck on the farm.
I've done a little reading, but need to do more. Malcolm Beck seems to be a man that talks in practical terms, think I'll have a read of his book.

Currently we produce about 1200t of fym per year, due to rise to 2000t within a year, all straw based
We have some grass that we currently make hay of, that potentially could become a compost ingredient
Bark peelings are available locally at sensible money
Limex a likely addition?
Adding more straw is also a possibility.

What is unclear is the C:N target - some say 1:1, some say as much as 30:1 Carbon:Nitrogen ratio.

Some say muck is a carbon source, some say its a nitrogen source.

I don't want to create a lot of work and worry for nothing, but would like to maximise what I have got.

Thank you
Moistures and air then the bugs will do the rest don’t over complex it only nature doing its job
 

DanniAgro

Member
After reading about Simon Cowells composting technique, it seems that you almost can't turn it too often - he judges the necessity for turning by its temperature. The important thing is to not let it get too hot, and after it's first made he turns it every day, then as it starts to heat up more slowly he can turn it only every few days.
The important temp is about 70 degrees iirc - above that it starts to kill the micro organisms.
 

Spud

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
YO62
Wowzers.
Just spread your dung. Adding cost and work to make compost out of fym is the most absurd thing I've heard. Why?
My thinking was to make it go further and do more pre ton applied, by making it biologically superior to fym, which is invariably variable inconsistency and analysis.
 
My thinking was to make it go further and do more pre ton applied, by making it biologically superior to fym, which is invariably variable inconsistency and analysis.
Different world, spread 3000 ton in October and it was nothing but a pain. Straw for dung anyone? 🙈
It seems mad to add cost to it still, inconsistent it might be, but little and often will it not even up?
When dung is in short supply, do you hit 100 acres with a big dose or spread it over your total average?
 

Spud

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
YO62
Different world, spread 3000 ton in October and it was nothing but a pain. Straw for dung anyone? 🙈
It seems mad to add cost to it still, inconsistent it might be, but little and often will it not even up?
When dung is in short supply, do you hit 100 acres with a big dose or spread it over your total average?
Application dictated by following crop as much as anything.

I'm always up for a look see, and don't want extra cost without extra value, so if there is no benefit, or massive extra cost, then we'll go back to what we do now.
In its simplest form, one answer is to put more straw in the pigs, let them do the mixing, and pull the C:N ratio into line that way, while putting more om back in the soil.
As ever, there is practicality & cost to consider.
 

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