Creating compost has many advantages for commercial farmers. As with any addition to the farm, though, it comes with several tasks and expectations. Namely, for compost to be helpful on a commercial level, it needs to reduce promptly. There are several signs your compost pile is not breaking down correctly, and we will explore them all here.
The Ideal Conditions
Compost piles are much more than the place where organic scraps go. To be an asset on a commercial farm, compost piles need to be set up for success, then carefully tended and cultivated. To begin, every form of composting needs the right mix of material. What mix is best depends on the style of composting being done. Generally, all types of compost benefit from a good mix of green and dead material. Additionally, regular watering is vital to keep conditions inside the compost pile helpful for cultivating beneficial microbes.
The Pile Has an Unusual Smell
Naturally, anything decomposing produces a less than pleasant smell. Compost is, by design, free from materials that create the more offensive rancid scents. Generally, the scent of compost should be earthy and green. An intensely moldy or musty smell is a sign that something is amiss. If compost begins to reek of rot and putrid odors, there is likely too much material entering the pile before it has the chance to break down. Alternatively, too much water or too little air can cause an anaerobic purification rather than healthy decomposition.
The Texture Is Off
Compost that’s working well should have an easy-to-touch texture. While it may not always look appealing depending on the stage, it should essentially feel earthy or loamy. A rotten smell will likely accompany a slimy texture. Piles also commonly feel dry or ashy if they aren’t watered sufficiently or are becoming too hot. The task of watering seems daunting. But with the option of a commercial water tank trailer for sale, it’s easy to make this essential chore manageable. Finally, a lack of worms and other insects is a sign that something isn’t in balance. Not every farmer may use valuable worm castings, but these helpful detritivores work hard to break compost down quickly.
Material Is Still Recognizable
Finally, the most evident signs your compost pile is not breaking down comes from simple observation. As the farmer designing the operation, it’s vital that you keep tabs on what a pile contains. Knowing in advance what recently was added is a great way to track the breakdown rate. Turn the bank with your hands and look for familiar materials. If it’s possible to see material not yet broken down, despite a reasonable passage of time, something is missing in the balance. Unless the material is particularly woody or harsh, it should break down regularly and rapidly become unrecognizable.