Compost & Organic Farming

Compost & Organic Farming

Compost & Organic Farming …a quick tour at the Illinois Organic Conference, 2015 Mark Geistlinger, Midwest Organic Services Association Photo credit: ...

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Compost & Organic Farming …a quick tour at the Illinois Organic Conference, 2015 Mark Geistlinger, Midwest Organic Services Association Photo credit: peppercorncateringgreenlake.com

Outline I. II. III. IV. V.

Composting in organic farming history Composting and the National Organic Standards Manure and the National Organic Standards Farmers’ responses to the compost Standard Other Standards applicable to compost

I. Organic history: Sir Albert Howard

Photo credit: Waste Products of Agriculture, 1931; from the-compostgardener.com

I. Organic history: compost basic to organic fertility management

Photo credit: Amazon.com

I. Organic history: compost basic to organic fertility management 1. 2. 3. 4.

Amendment, not fertilizer Slow-release nutrients Builds organic matter Inoculates soil with zillions of microbes

Photo credit: City of St. Anthony, MN

I. Organic history: compost supports other goals of organic farming 1. 2. 3. 4.

Study: peppers receiving compost showed better resistance to root diseases.

Reduces risk of manure run-off Suppresses disease Suppresses weeds Protects soil against drought

Photo credit: compostforsoils.com

I. Organic history: compost provides many agronomic benefits 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Fewer spreading trips Recycle farm wastes Use free, poor quality materials Strong potting soil media Carrier for minor soil amendments

Composting at the Rodale Institute Farm Photo credit: Eric Carr for OFRF

II. Compost and the National Organic Standards: introduction 1. Implemented 2002 2. All farms making an organic claim must follow

Photo credit: usda.gov

II. Compost and the National Organic Standards: 205.203(c)(2) 1. Required steps IF compost contains manure, and

Photo credit: motherearthnews.com

2. IF compost is applied to field growing Photo credit: Park Ridge Organics

food crops

II. Compost and the National Organic Standards: 205.203(c)(2) i.

Photo credit: University of Arkansas Extension

Initial Carbon:Nitrogen ratio between 25:1 and 40:1

II. Compost and the National Organic Standards: 205.203(c)(2) ii.

Photo credit: Robert Rynk, Washington State University

If in-vessel or static aerated pile system: maintain temperature 131>170 for 3 days

II. Compost and the National Organic Standards: 205.203(c)(2) iii. If windrow system: maintain temperature 131>170 for 15 days and turn at least 5 times

Photo credit: biocycle.net

III. Manure and the National Organic Standards: 205.203(c)(1) Definitions:  “Manure” = any animal waste: manure, bedding with urine, offal, carcasses

 Any form of human waste (sewage sludge) is absolutely prohibited.

Photo credit: chronicle.augusta.com

III. Manure and the National Organic Standards: 205.203(c)(1) Does the compost contain manure? If NOT, it can be applied any time and there are no requirements regarding temperatures and turnings.

Municipal yard waste compost

Photo credit: growpittsburgh.org

III. Manure and the National Organic Standards: 205.203(c)(1) Will the manure be applied to fields growing FOOD crops? If NOT, it can be applied any time.

Spreading manure on corn stubble

Photo credit: Purdue University via epa.gov

III. Manure and the National Organic Standards: 205.203(c)(1)

120 days if edible part of crop contacts soil

90 days if edible part does not contact soil

Will the manure be applied to fields growing FOOD crops? If YES, it must be applied at least 90 or 120 days prior to harvest.

Photo credits: goldengateorganics.com (potatoes) Gordon Chibroski, Portland Press Herald (sweet corn)

III. Manure and the National Organic Standards: Guidance Document 5006 (2011) Will the manure be HEATED to 150°F for one hour or 165°F? Will the manure be dried to a maximum moisture level of 12%? Pelleted chicken manure

Photo credit: chickmagic.net

If YES to both, then manure can be applied to food crops without restrictions.

IV. Responses to compost Standard: make approved compost with manure

Measuring temperature of compost pile

List ingredients in Organic Plan Balance C:N ratio Measure temperatures Turn materials Record results

Photo credit: greenenergytimes.net

IV. Responses to compost Standard: make un-approved compost with manure

Applying compost to small grain residue

Photo credit: newfarm.org

List ingredients in Organic Plan No required number of turnings, temperature measurements Must follow the 90/120-day rule for food crops

IV. Responses to compost Standard: make un-restricted compost without manure List ingredients in Organic Plan No required number of turnings, temperature measurements Can apply to feed or food crops at any time

Photo credit: Dorling Kindersely Limited at diynetwork.com

IV. Responses to compost Standard: purchase acceptable products

Compost

Processed manure

Potting soil with compost

Worm castings

Approved by certifier or listed with Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

V. Other Standards related to compost: approved ingredients  Newspaper (without glossy or colored inks)

Photo credit: clicktop10.com

V. Other Standards related to compost: approved ingredients  Green waste (lawn clippings, food waste)

Photo credits: Stephen Hiltner, princetonprimer.blogspot.com; Brian Baer, Sacramento Bio Digester Facility of CleanWorld

V. Other Standards related to compost: prohibited ingredients  Paper with glossy or colored inks

Photo credits: hotcouponworld.com

V. Other Standards related to compost: prohibited ingredients  Natural materials with synthetic additives (particle board, gypsum board, etc.)

Photo credits: Lisa Starlings, carpentrypages.com, chinagypsumboard.com

V. Other Standards related to compost: prohibited ingredients  Synthetic ingredients or aids

 Any form of sewage sludge

Photo credits: Umer Zubair, boltakarachi.blogspot.com; milorganite

V. Other Standards related to compost: Vermicompost NOP Guidance 5021  Ingredients must be allowed  Aerobic conditions maintained by layering, turning, or forcing air  Duration of composting sufficient to produce product that does not contaminate

Photo credits: urbanwormcomposting.org

V. Other Standards related to compost: compost tea  NOT mentioned in Standards or National Organic Program Guidance  Currently determined by certification agency; some allow if from approved compost  OMRI opinion: must follow 90/120 day restriction even if from approved compost Photo credits: dep.state.pa.us

Across the decades and regulations, compost remains at the core of organic farming

Photo credit: cranfordinc