Thematic training material for the use of compost in Northern Europe has been published

Professional compost is the stable, hygienised and humus-rich end product of a large scale, monitored and controlled process of composting selectively collected organic-biological material.

Compost application significantly increases soil organic matter (SOM)/soil organic carbon (SOC) contents, a key soil quality indicator that is declining in many soils across the globe. Farming usually tends to deplete and degrade the soil by collecting (mono-culture) harvests while using machinery (tillage, compaction), and adding mostly mineral fertilisers/slurry and too little organic matter. By adding compost and thus SOM the soil health can be restored both on a biological, chemical as well as a physical level. The organic matter/humic substances in compost cause the soil particles to form aggregates thereby improving soil structure. This in turn allows for better root growth and increasing permeability and water retention capacity equally. Additional benefits of compost addition to soil are an increased soil biological activity, reducing erosion losses, decreasing bulk density, improving structural stability, plant available nutrients.

Professional composting is the enhanced and controlled decomposition process of organic waste by the action of aerobic bacteria, fungi, and other organisms. To obtain a good composting process, it is necessary to have a good ratio of carbon-rich input materials and N-rich input materials. Also the temperature, CO2 and moisture content are important parameters. To aerate and homogenise the pile it is necessary to turn it over from time to time.

Examples for compost products available on the NUTRIMAN Farmer Platform:

Typical nutrient content and availability for plants

The green and vegetable-fruit-garden waste based composts (Belgium) contain 1,2%-2,5% N (dm), 0,45-1,2% P2O(dm), and 0,9-1,8% K2O (dm) with a 25%-45% of humidity. The nutrients are mainly structured in an organic matrix and are slowly released according to the nutrient. Plant available nutrient contents are 10-15% for N, 50% for P2O5, and 80% for K2O.

The above-mentioned composts based on biothermal treatment of chicken and pig manure (Holland) contain around 3,1% N (dm), 3,1%-4,6% P2O5 (dm), and 2,8%- 3,1% K2O (dm) with a 35% of humidity.

The compost from green waste and pre-digested vegetable, fruit and garden-waste by "IOK Afvalbeheer" process (ID:272 – Figure 1) contains 1,7%-2,5% N (dm), 0,8%-1,2% P2O5 (dm), 1,1%-1,8% K2O (dm), 2,5%-4% CaO (dm), 0,5%-0,8% MgO (dm), and 0,5-0,8% SO3 (dm) with a 25%-40% of humidity. On a fresh matter base vfg-compost has an organic matter content of 25%

The compost from green waste by "IMOG” process (ID:280 – Figure 2) contains 1,22%-1,62%  N (dm), 0,45%-0,61% P2O5 (dm), 0,87%-1,26% K2O (dm), 2%-2,77% CaO (dm), 0,4%-0,6% MgO (dm), and 0,35%-0,45% SO3 (dm) with a 35%-45% of humidity. On a fresh matter base green-compost has an organic matter content of 20%

The hygienised manure-based composts by Eraspo (ID:451/ID:452) – Figure 3) contain around 3,1% N (dm), 3,1%-4,6% P2O5 (dm), 2,8%- 3,1% K2O (dm), 7,7%-8,8% CaO (dm), 1,2%-2,3% MgO (dm), and 1,5%-2,8% SO3 (dm) with a 35% of humidity. On a fresh matter base the Eraspo composts have an organic matter content of 41%.

Benefits for farmers:

Composts are hygienised and stabilised end products able to increase soil fertility. Applying composts closes the material and nutrient cycle, and offers an important and secure source of carbon, nitrogen, phosphor, and other macro-/microelements. By upholding the soil organic matter and providing slowly releasing nutrients compost has demonstrably had positive effects on plants development. Compost is able to substitute, at least partially, mineral fertilizers. Composts – particularly green compost (ID:280) – can be used, under certain conditions, in organic farming. Wherever a pre-digestion step of separately collected organic waste is incorporated (e.g. ID 272) the process allows the production of biogas and/or purified biomethane.

The composts (ID:272-280-451-452) can be used in arable land farming, horticulture, floriculture, arboriculture, vineyards and greenhouses on all crops mainly as a soil improver, to maintain or improve the organic matter content of the soil in combination with a basic fertilisation. Compost in other words resupplies a soil that is exhausted in organic matter and nutrients.


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