Compost

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Organic matter, such as animal waste and plant residues, which has been actively decomposed in a closely managed process involving aeration and mechanical mixing achieving appropriate time and temperature points. Compost is the product of a managed process (treatment, turning, etc) through which microorganisms break down plant and animal materials into more available forms suitable for application to the soil as a fertilizer. According to EPA, compost must be produced through a process which combines plant and animal materials with an initial Carbon:Nitrogen ratio of between 25:1 and 40:1. Producers using an in-vessel or static aerated pile system must maintain the composting materials at a temperature between 131°F and 170° F for 3 days. Producers using a windrow system must maintain the composting materials at a temperature between 131°F and 170° F for 15 days, during which time the materials must be turned a minimum of five times.

Author

James Peth

James Peth

James Peth, MS, MPH, PhD is an instructor in Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.