What is Composting?
Composting is the biological decomposition of organic materials by microorganisms under controlled, aerobic conditions to a relatively stable humus-like material called compost.
Composting can happen in many different ways using a variety of materials, methods, equipment, and scales of operation.
For agricultural operations the common materials or feedstocks that are composted are livestock manures and bedding and various residual plant materials (straw, culls, on-farm processing wastes, etc.).
During the composting process, materials release heat, water and carbon dioxide, to result in the final product.
Compost provides many essential nutrients for plant growth and therefore is often used as fertilizer. This rich, natural fertilizer allows farmers to cut back on use of chemical fertilizers. Farmers will often use the fertilizer for their own farm, or sell it as a product.
Like many agricultural operations, composting can have its challenges. Long processing time, land required for composting, and investing in bulk storage buildings are some of the bigger challenges when deciding to compost agricultural waste onsite.
Agricultural composting has been done forever. But in the ever changing agricultural environment, operational efficiency and return on investment are vital, even when it comes to composting.