Compost 101 - Practical Steps For Beginners


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Rhonda Daly of Ylad Living Soils explained how composting can lead to increasing soil carbon at the Third Annual Carbon Farming Conference & Expo 2009 in Orange NSW Australia - the only soil carbon farming conference of its type in the world. (4-5 November 2009)

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  • The Production of Humified Compost Section - 3
  • The Science Behind Balanced Fertility
  • Compost 101 - Practical Steps For Beginners

    1. 1. The Role of Humus Compost in Carbon Sequestration Compost 101
    2. 2. WOULD YOU LIKE TO? Compost 101 <ul><li>Build healthy living soils naturally? </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit financially while doing it? </li></ul><ul><li>Be a part of the solution? </li></ul><ul><li>Leave the planet and society in a healthier state? </li></ul><ul><li>Be Healthy? </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Value Cycle of Compost High Quality Humus Compost Increases Soil Balance, Fertility and Carbon Increases Root System Capability and Capacity Which Produces Healthier More Nutritious Food & a Healthier Society
    4. 4. Building Energy into Agriculture Microbes Recycling Bio -diversity Natural Defence Systems Balance Nutrition Water Profitability Humus Resilience Carbon Balance
    5. 5. Change was Necessary <ul><li>Soil Structure decline, compacted tight soils </li></ul><ul><li>Organic Matter decline </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrient recycling slow </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing weeds, insects & disease </li></ul><ul><li>Lime applied for 28 years – cation imbalance </li></ul><ul><li>More inputs for less returns </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrient Tie Up </li></ul><ul><li>Profitability declining </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Adoption of Biological Principles </li></ul><ul><li>Biological Fertilisers </li></ul><ul><li>Microbial Inoculums </li></ul><ul><li>Humus Compost </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced Tillage </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction of Nitrogen Fertilisers </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable Herbiciding </li></ul><ul><li>Stubble Retention </li></ul><ul><li>Rotational Grazing </li></ul>How We Changed
    7. 7. What is Soil? Mineral Nutrients (Chemical) Soil Structure (Physical) Microlife (Biological)
    8. 8. TITLE OF CURRENT SESSION <ul><ul><li>Raw Material Selection: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carbon: Nitrogen ratio (C:N) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moisture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Porosity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volume of Each Material </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process of Monitoring </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Temperature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carbon Dioxide(CO2) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moisture – Add Water? </li></ul></ul>How is Compost Made? Compost is made using a defined process:
    9. 9. Windrow Building
    10. 10. Weeks 1 - 3 Organic Matter Breakdown in Weeks 1 - 3 Aerobic microbes, water, oxygen and heat breakdown organic matter
    11. 11. Monitoring Compost Windrows Temperature is measured with a probe instrument inserted into the center of the row . A digital readout displays the row’s internal temperature. The CO2 readings will range from 0 to 21% CO2 . Moisture is best measured by observation and maintained at 35-45%
    12. 12. Weeks 4 - 8 Humus Compost is organic matter broken down by microbes then polymerised by microbes into long carbon chains or HUMUS Weeks 4 - 8
    13. 13. Adjust Ground Speed vs. Drum RPM to Create a “GAP” Windrow The “GAP” Replace Carbon Dioxide Fresh Air / Oxygen 3 – 6 inches Drum
    14. 14. Speed of Operation Forward Ground Speed – 20- 35 feet per minute Run Drum @ 270-540 PTO RPM
    15. 15. Establishing Compost Quality <ul><li>Absence of sulphides, nitrates & heavy metals </li></ul><ul><li>Aerobically produced </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of pathogens - E-coli & Salmonella </li></ul><ul><li>High ratio of humus </li></ul><ul><li>N fixed into stable humus and microbial bio-mass </li></ul><ul><li>Abundant and diverse range of 5 functional groups of microbiology </li></ul><ul><li>Stability and maturity Index </li></ul><ul><li>Germination and vigour % </li></ul>July 9 2009
    16. 16. Humus Compost - More then NPK
    17. 17. Soil Without Humus Water runs off increasing erosion Soil becomes less porous Air flow into the soil is limited Without oxygen microbes that help roots extract nutrients die Water logging or excess drainage J-rooting is a common occurrence
    18. 18. Soils with Humus Residue is Recycled Retains 4 times its weight in water Allows excess water pass through Porous soil allows greater root penetration and greater microbial activity Air enters for microbes Increased water infiltration
    19. 19. TITLE OF CURRENT SESSION ‘ Knowldale’ Young Results
    20. 20. TITLE OF CURRENT SESSION Testing by DECC on ‘Knowldale’ Results 10 cm top soil built in two years
    21. 21. Organic Matter Increase 2.22%
    22. 22. Sequestering Carbon Carbon Sequestration By increasing organic carbon by.26% in the top 15 cm of soil this represented a 6 t/ha increase in soil OC which equating to 22 t/ha of CO2 sequestered
    23. 23. Water Efficiency <ul><li>Volume of Water retained /ha (to 30 cm) in </li></ul><ul><li>relation to soil organic matter (OM) </li></ul><ul><li>0.5%OM = 80,000 litres </li></ul><ul><li>1.0%OM = 160,000 litres </li></ul><ul><li>2.0%OM = 320,000 litres </li></ul><ul><li>3.0%OM = 480,000 litres </li></ul><ul><li>4.0%OM = 640,000 litres </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Knowldale’ Increase in Water Holding Capacity </li></ul><ul><li>1.88% OM = 300,800 litres </li></ul><ul><li>2.23% OM = 356,800 litres </li></ul><ul><li>Increase of 56,000 litres water </li></ul><ul><li>retained per hectare </li></ul>
    24. 24. Absorption vs. Extraction <ul><li>Absorption </li></ul><ul><li>Direct Contact </li></ul><ul><li>Intake NOT controlled </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrogen Overload </li></ul><ul><li>Extraction </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrients On Demand </li></ul><ul><li>Microbial Assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Imbalance Protection </li></ul>Vs.
    25. 25. Compost Applications <ul><li>Compost </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcast .5 tonne – 10 tonnes/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Banded 5 – 10 tonnes/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Deep Banding 1 – 2 tonnes/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Compost Mineral Blends – Compost blended </li></ul><ul><li>with minerals </li></ul><ul><li>Compost Tea (BioTX500) </li></ul><ul><li>Microbial Liquid Injection - 100 l/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Fertigation - 20 – 50 litres/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Foliar Application - 20 – 50 litres/ha </li></ul>
    26. 26. Points of Leverage - Application Timing F M A M J J A S O N D J Nutrient levels With Balanced Soil Fertility Programs the Inputs Required to Achieve Balance are Applied to Correspond to the Requirements of the Plant Maximizing Yield Nutrient Requirements from the Plant’s Perspective Start Small at Planting and Increase Until the Plants Mature Autumn Compost Mineral Blend Compost Tea - Bio TX500 Spring Summer X Cereal Grains Balanced Fertility Plan X X <ul><li>Stubble Digester </li></ul><ul><li>Compost Mineral Blends </li></ul><ul><li>Granular Blend at Sowing </li></ul><ul><li>Liquid Inject </li></ul><ul><li>Foliar Nutrition (Maximise Yield and Protein) </li></ul>Test to Update the Base Line and Assess Progress (March is ideal) Winter
    27. 27. Microbial Liquid Injection
    28. 28. Fertilisers without Humus Lock-Up Evaporation Leaching N P K What’s Left
    29. 29. Fertiliser with Humus Evaporation Leaching More Gets to the Crop N P K C O M P O S T Humus bonds with fertiliser N K P Humus
    30. 30. The Value Cycle of Compost High Quality Humus Compost Increases Soil Balance, Fertility and Carbon Increases Root System Capability and Capacity Which Produces Healthier More Nutritious Food & a Healthier Environment
    31. 31. Compost 101 The Chief of the Cree Tribe in North America in 1901 said: ‘ When all the streams run dry and all the trees have been cut down. When there are no fish left in the Sea Then people will realise we cannot eat money”
    32. 32. Contact Us for a Free Information Pack Rhonda Daly 0417 234 202 02 6382 21865 [email_address] or visit