Monday, July 12, 2010

Custom Composts

I still haven't found Helen's car key. At each inquiry amongst friends and businesses I have had contact with over the last few days I have received the same...'what were you doing when you lost it.' That doesn't help one bit. Helen thinks she has a second key somewhere and we can buy and re-program the engine immobiliser
A wheel wash entering the piggery area

Our neighbour Dave runs a composting business near Mandurah. About two weeks ago we were in Mandurah and decided to check out Dave’s poo farm. He has a business partner and a reasonable sized work force. There is lots of machinery; front end loaders etc, turners and a very smart separator.
Rows of compost in progress

On the 400 Hectare site there is also a large piggery with approximately 18,000 guests at any one time. The muck from the pig pens goes into a series of filtering ponds and water and nutrients are used in the composting process. At any one time there are about 10,000 cubic metres of compostable material mixed in precise proportions in rows where turning machines turn it every couple of days. The whole composting process takes about 12 weeks. Dave estimates that they market about 150,000 cubic metres of finished product per year; most going direct to farms. A large mushroom compost operation is also on site.

A turning machine turning the line of maturing compost.
The Separator
The separator is a million dollar machine and passes the product through a series of screens, magnets and blowers to separate metal, plastic etc. The turners are also very expensive, running to around $500,000 each.

For the home composters here is Dave’s composting formula:

30 Parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen

The carbon can be...(woody stuff, leaves,paper,sawdust)
The Nitrogen can be ....(Greens)

The water to air proportions are also important....the mix should squeeze in the hand without being able to show any water. Turn regularly for the air part.

I must have those proportions all wrong as my compost tumbler makes compost cricket balls.

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