August 2014 

Newsletter Paragon

When the Student is Ready, the Teacher will Appear 

From time to time, I am asked the one question that I cannot answer, "If aerated composting is so easy, why isn't everyone already doing it?"

The best answer I can give is "They just aren't ready".

There is a tremendous need to properly manage manure on small farms worldwide. In fact, there are many counties in the United States that have ordinances that disallow land application of raw manure and require a manure management plan in order to gain construction permits. Unfortunately, most people don't know where to get started.

Please Help Us Spread the Word.  Right now - as you sit at your computer - take a minute to forward this newsletter to someone (better yet, everyone) you know who owns horses or other livestock, and suggest that they visit our website:  www.o2compost.com.

We are ready to help.  

Compost as Stall Bedding
by Susanne Currie in Brantford, Ontario

Composted horse manure used as recycled bedding has become a staple around our farm, Amani Acres. Composted bedding smells great (a mossy oak scent), it decreases the amount of dust, makes urine clump similar to kitty litter, reduces cost, and it has beneficial effects for horses. It simply makes sense.

We have been using the O2Compost system for five years. All used bedding, garden cuttings and vegetable-based kitchen scraps go into the composter. The O2 system is easy to use and because internal temperatures reach 160° Fahrenheit, the compost is free of any pathogens. The resulting compost has multiple uses, including:

  • Re-use as bedding for the horses;
  • Compost/mulch for gardens and pastures (the composted mulch does not leach nitrogen);
  • Compost tea (an organic gardener's staple) is easily made by soaking small amounts in a watering can for watering plants;
  • Compost as an arena supplement to lighten the footing; and
  • Kitty litter (the best kitty litter the cat has ever used - she loves it!).

 Friedl Newsletter

It was intuitive for us to use the compost as bedding, but we were delighted to find that research has documented relief for horses with chronic hives, skin irritations, and respiratory conditions.

At Amani, we use the recycled bedding with a horse that has asthma and it has provided brilliant results. If it could be summarized in an easy to understand concept, it can be explained like this: we all know about "probiotics" and how putting good microbes into our gut helps balance out the bad bacteria. The same applies with the compost.

Friedl Newsletter2

A clean stall allows the bad bacteria to grow quicker (no competition), whereas with compost used as bedding - the microbes challenge the bad bacteria which causes them to grow slower, effectively providing a cleaner environment for your horse.

There are many other tangible benefits:

  • The pastures are thicker than normal, the gardens are abundant with fewer weeds, and the bedding is a recycling success story.
  • Barn work is more pleasant because of reduced odor and less dust. But it is not just about the people in our barn as there are also benefits for the horses as well.
  • We have succeeded in reducing bedding cost by fifty percent.
  • We have sold some of our compost in the past, and this has helped us keep our barn profitable.

All in all, I highly recommend O2Compost and the use of your compost as stall bedding.

Peter's Rules of Composting - A 12-Part Series

Rule 4:  Oxygen is the Secret to Composting 

So that we don't have to go into a long discussion about the microbiology, biochemistry, and thermodynamics of composting, I am going to ask you to trust me when I say:

Aerobic composting optimizes the biology of the composting system, expedites the composting process, produces heat that we use to destroy pathogens, parasites and weed seeds, and results in a high quality finished product. 

Aerobic composting means that the oxygen level in the compost pile is maintained at 10% or higher (the air we breathe at sea level contains about 20% oxygen).

Most people believe that a compost pile needs to be turned from time to time to reintroduce oxygen into the mix. In fact, this does work but only for a very short period of time. The oxygen in the freshly turned active compost pile is consumed very quickly, and drops well below 10% within 30 to 45 minutes. Turning the compost pile is a lot of work for very little gain.

With an O2Compost system, an electric blower delivers air to the base of the pile every 20 to 30 minutes to replenish the oxygen in the mix. The blower is operated by a timer that is typically set to turn ON for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. What is the perfect timer setting?  See Rule 3.

The blower cycles On and Off, 24 hours a day, for the first 30 days of composting - without having to "fire up the tractor". It will happen even when it's snowing outside and you are on vacation in the Bahamas. Now that's what I call multi-tasking.

To prove this to yourself, all you need to do is  1) fill up a compost bin with your initial mix of materials; 2) take a temperature reading to get your starting point; and then 3) turn the blower / timer ON. Within 12 to 24 hours, you will see the pile temperature quickly climb 30° to 50° F. This is my absolute favorite thing about aerated composting. I will never get tired of seeing this happen.

Previous Rules:

Rule 1 - Start With the End in Mind  (April Newsletter)
Rule 2 - To Learn to Compost, One Must Compost  (June Newsletter)
Rule 3 - Every Question About Composting Has Only One Answer - "It Depends"  (July Newsletter)

A New Compost System Comes On-Line

  Davis Newsletter2

OWNER:   Robbie D. 

LOCATION:  Davidson, North Carolina

10-14 horses on sawdust bedding

The finished compost is spread onto the pastures.


Coming Events

September 10-13, 2014
ASP Hands-On Workshop
-Snohomish, Washington
This 3-day event bridges the gap between the classroom and the field.
Now taking registrations. Email sherri@o2compost.com. 

October 20-24, 2014
Washington Organic Recycling Council's 5-Day Training Class
 Puyallup, Washington
This is an excellent course for those interested in gaining practical experience in the science and art of composting. It is co-taught by industry leaders in composting, including Peter Moon from O2Compost. Go HERE to learn more.

October 26-29, 2014
AASHE Conference
 Portland, Oregon
Visit their website for more information.

December, 2014 (TBD)
St. John's University Conference
 New York City

Protecting Our Land, Air and Water Resources

Price-Moon Enterprises, Inc.
PO Box 1026
Snohomish, WA 98291

Phone:  360-568-8085
Email:   info@o2compost.com


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