* Organic mixture will have to provide the microbes with the correct balance of carbon and nitrogen. The ideal ratio for a composting mixture is accepted to be C:N 30. * C:N ratios within the range of 25:1 to 40:1 result in an efficient process. * High C:N ratio - without adequate nitrogen, microbes lack the tools required to break down carbon sources. The process will proceed very slowly. * Low C:N ratio - nitrogen in excess of what the microbes need to break down the available carbon can easily be lost to the atmosphere as ammonia gas. * C:N ratio for EFB is 60, other materials such as manure (normally 20% of EFB) and POME must be added to achieve C:N of 30 for optimum composting process.
* 0.5 – 2 inches – best balance of moisture retention and oxygen diffusion. * Too large
* Good aeration but will dry out quickly.
* Low surface area – low microbial activities.
* Too small
* Good moisture retention
* Easily become anaerobic because air can’t infiltrate easily.
Control of Moisture
* 45 – 60% of Moisture content.
* Low biological reaction if too dry
* Anaerobic conditions will dominate the composting process if too wet. * Slowing decomposition
* Generating foul odor
Control of Aeration
* Air requirement is determined by the nature of the composting materials and the stage of the composting process. * > 5% of oxygen content
* Aeration also provides a means of cooling down the composting material when overheated. * Air requirements can roughly be assessed by observing the color and smell of the compost. * Under the following conditions, more air is needed:
* There is an objectionable odor from the windrow.
* Color is lighter in the inner section of the windrow.
* The composted materials are too wet
* > 65oC indicates active process of microbes.
* 3 stages
* Initial stage –...