Common Problems and Solutions During Composting

Self-propelled compost turner for chicken manure composting
Self-propelled compost turner for chicken manure composting

1.Why do compost piles fail to heat? And what should I do?

  • Compost pile is too dry (you cannot squeeze water from materials). You can add proper amount of water or wet materials by water spraying systems on the composting equipment.
  • Materials are too wet (materials look soggy and pile slumps). You can turn compost piles frequently, so as to speed up evaporation of water.
  • Nitrogen is not enough (bedding or straw is too much). You can add some N-rich materials, such as animal manure, garden waste and grass clippings, etc.
  • The size of compost pile is too small (pile height less than 3 feet). The best solution is to enlarge or combine multiple compost piles.

2. Why does the temperature of compost piles consistently falls over several days?

The reason is that the oxygen content of compost piles is too low (oxygen content should be more than 5% ) or lack of moisture . You should turn compost piles, so as to make materials contact with air fully.

3. If there is too much odor, what should I do?

Too wet materials and insufficient aeration will cause odor. You need to turn compost piles.

4. If there are many flies, what can I do?

These flies may breed from in uncomposted manure. You can cover piles with trap, or finished compost of 6 inches.

5. How to know when compost is ready for use?

When active composting slows, temperature gradually drops to ambient air temperature and remains unchanged, it means the composting finishes. But before use, you should leave it to “cure” for several days. The fully composted materials is crumbly, textured, earthy-smelling and dark.

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