Compost

 

Manures, composts, and raw materials
Aerobic compost must go through a heating process - ideally under temperatures from 60-65oC for long enough to allow the ingredients to turn into an effective form of humus. The heat cycle reduces pathogens and weed seed viability. Housing livestock on deep litter may result in aged manure, not compost, because the decomposing material may not go through a full heat cycle necessary for hygienic aerobic compost. Aged manure is approached as raw manure.Demeter approaches raw manure/urine as a restricted material. Excessive applications of raw manures can lead to ground water contamination and an overload of the soil’s biology. Raw manure can also lead to pathological concerns. Raw manure collected in barns, holding pens, etc. should be composted using the Biodynamic compost preparations before they are applied to certified acreage.

 Source materials
Care must be taken to create an ingredient mixture that has the proper carbon to nitrogen ratio and moisture content, as well as a texture to allow for the pile to be permeated with oxygen in order to allow for the vigorous aerobic composting process. The carbon emissions that result from the movement of compost ingredients (such as bulk manures and bulk carbon sources) from their source to the composting site needs to be considered. The composting of waste can contribute to the overall wellbeing of the farm’s community, so ideally compost ingredients should come from the farm itself or from the immediate region. The use of plant wastes from municipal sources, industrial sources, or synthetic chemically farmed agriculture may be contaminated with environmentally destructive chemicals and/or petroleum products and consequently are prohibited for direct mulching unless it can be clearly demonstrated that they are free of prohibited contaminants. The materials may be used as regulated fertility ingredients if they are aerobically composted (with the addition of the compost preparations 502-507) in a mix containing the proper carbon to nitrogen ratio to allow for an active fermentation. Demeter reserves the right to require that the raw materials and finished compost be tested to ensure that they are free of prohibited materials.

 Compost turning
As a general rule, excessive turning of the compost pile should be avoided. A properly built compost pile should have the necessary carbon to nitrogen ratio and ingredient texture to allow the pile to ferment properly without excessive turning.

Note: This is an excerpt of "Biodynamic Farm Standard (2010). Demeter Association Inc."