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Effects of Recycled Compost Rate on Ammonia and Dry Matter Loss During Dairy Manure Composting

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  024143,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.9386) @2002
Authors:   John A. Pecchia, Harold M. Keener and Frederick C. Michel Jr.
Keywords:   Nitrogen loss, composting, dairy manure, pilot-scale, carbon dioxide

Dairy operations considering composting as a waste management alternative must address the economics of installing and running a composting system to determine its feasibility. The type and quantity of amendments needed to reduce the high moisture manure (85-90% moisture) to a level that can be handled in a composting system (65-70 % moisture) will have a significant impact on the associated costs. The amount of required amendments varies depending on both types and amounts of bedding materials used. Sawdust is often used as a composting amendment because of its low moisture content, porosity and C:N ratios which compliments dairy manure. However, by reintroducing finished compost as an amendment it is possible to reduce the amount of sawdust used thereby making composting more economical. The effects of using recycled compost on decomposition rate and ammonia loss during dairy manure composting were studied in 4 Liter pilot-scale composting reactors to determine optimum recycling rates. The results demonstrated an inverse relationship between the amount of recycled compost incorporated into the formula and ammonia loss. Decomposition rate, measured by carbon dioxide production, was also indirectly related to the amount of recycled compost incorporated into the blend.

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