Poultry manure is a valuable resource for organic farming, but it also poses some challenges for proper management. One of the main problems is the high moisture content, which can lead to odors, pathogens, and nutrient losses. To overcome these issues, poultry manure can be composted using a windrow turner.
A windrow turner is a machine that moves along a pile of organic materials and mixes them with air, water, and additives. The windrow turner helps to accelerate the composting process by creating favorable conditions for microbial activity. The benefits of using a windrow turner for poultry manure composting are:
– It reduces the composting time from several months to a few weeks.
– It improves the quality and stability of the compost by enhancing the decomposition of organic matter and reducing the moisture content.
– It reduces the environmental impact by minimizing the emissions of greenhouse gases and odors.
– It increases the economic value of the compost by increasing the nutrient content and reducing the volume.
To use a windrow turner for poultry manure composting, you need to follow some steps:
– Collect the poultry manure from the barns and transport it to the composting site.
– Form a long and narrow pile of poultry manure on a flat and well-drained surface. The pile should be about 1.5 to 2 meters high and 2 to 3 meters wide.
– Add some bulking agents, such as straw, sawdust, or wood chips, to improve the porosity and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of the pile.
– Add some water and inoculants, such as compost starter or effective microorganisms, to enhance the microbial activity and diversity of the pile.
– Turn the pile regularly with a windrow turner, at least once a week. The turning frequency depends on the temperature, moisture, and oxygen levels of the pile. The optimal temperature range is 55 to 65 degrees Celsius, the optimal moisture range is 50 to 60 percent, and the optimal oxygen level is above 10 percent.
– Monitor the composting process by checking the temperature, moisture, pH, and odor of the pile. You can also use a compost maturity test kit to assess the quality and stability of the compost.
– Harvest the compost when it is ready. The compost is ready when it has a dark brown color, a crumbly texture, a pleasant earthy smell, and a low temperature.
Using a windrow turner for poultry manure composting is an effective and efficient way to convert waste into wealth. It can help you produce high-quality organic fertilizer for your crops and gardens, while also protecting the environment and human health.