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Windrow composting

Environmental technology
Environmental science

In agriculture, windrow composting is the production of compost by piling organic matter or biodegradable waste, like animal manure and crop residues, in long rows (windrows). This method is suited to producing large volumes of compost. These piles are generally turned to improve porosity and oxygen content, mix in or remove moisture, and redistribute cooler and hotter portions of the pile. Windrow composting is the most commonly used of farm scale composting methods. Process control parameters include the initial ratios of carbon and nitrogen rich materials, the amount of bulking agents added to assure air porosity, the pile size, moisture content, and turning frequency.

Compost windrow turners

Compost windrow turners were developed to produce compost on a large scale. They are a traditionally a large machine that straddles a windrow of approximately eight feet high by 13 feet across. Although smaller machines exist for smaller windrows, most operations need the larger machines to be efficient. Turners drive through the windrow at a slow rate of forward movement. They have a steel drum with paddles that are rapidly turning. As the turner moves through the windrow, fresh air containing oxygen is injected into the compost by the drum/paddle assembly and waste gases produced by harmful bacteria are eliminated. The oxygen feeds the beneficial composting bacteria and thus speeds the eventual composting process. This process is then extended by windrow dynamics.


To properly utilize a compost windrow turner, it is ideal to compost on a concrete pad; haul in the feed stocks, and place them into windrows. Heavy-duty compost windrow turners can be built that allow the user to obtain optimum results. By using 4-wheel-drive or tracks the windrow turner is capable of turning compost in windrows located in remote locations. With a self-trailering option this allows the compost windrow turner to convert itself into a trailer to be pulled by a semi-truck tractor. These two options combined allow the compost windrow turner to be easily hauled anywhere and to turn the compost in muddy and wet locations.

See also

  • In-vessel composting
  • Tunnel composting
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Windrow_composting". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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