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


Composts significantly increase soil organic matter (SOM) contents, a key soil quality indicator that is on the contrary declining in many regions of the world. There are many compounds within compost that influence the biological process in soil, improving the physical and chemical characteristics. Humates improve the soil structure and then the plant roots could easier penetrate. Improving root growth, the stability of trees increases and the water stress decreases. Additional benefits of compost addition to soil are promoting soil biological activity, reducing erosion losses, decreasing bulk density, improving structural stability, nutrient availability and plant uptake, increasing the water holding capacity. The use of compost is also interesting as a peat substitute, in particular after recent increasing concern on peat extraction and the damage of peat lands natural habitats by the horticulture industry that lead to the adoption of alternative substrates. However, composts can hardly be used alone as a growing media; it is necessary to do a germination test or compost analysis to determine the suitability because will be often kill or damage plants due to excessive salinity.

Examples for compost products available on the NUTRIMAN Farmer Platform:

Some composts selected in the NUTRIMAN project are available in Southern Europe. The compost from green waste and digested mixed-waste by "ACEA Pinerolese" process (ID:210 – Figure 1) is made starting from de-hydrated effluent from the anaerobic digestion of organic fraction of municipal solid waste, green residues from separate urban collection and dehydrated effluent from the wastewater treatment plant. It contains 2.4% N (d.m.), 2.3% P2O5  (d.m.), 1.3% K2O (d.m.) with a 40% of humidity.

The compost from green and food wastes by "Biociclo" process (ID:260 – Figure 2) is made starting from biowaste, food waste collected door to door and green waste; and it contains about 2.4% N (d.m.), 1.2% P2O5 (d.m.).

In France the compost from algae and cattle manure by local composting process is available (ID:540 – Figure 3). It is made starting from cattle manure, equine manure, straw and algae and contains 0.8% N (d.m.), 0.71% P2O5 (d.m.), 1.82 K2O (d.m.).

Typical nutrient content and availability for plants: The compost usually contains 0.8-2.4% N (d.m.), 0.7-2.3% P2O5  (d.m.), 1.3-1.8% K2O (d.m.) with a 40% of humidity.

Fields of application in agriculture: crop, dosages, application method and practical recommendations:  The composts (ID:210-260-540) are used at 5-30 t/ha according to soil quality, season and crop uptake. They could be used to improve the production of a lot of cereal and horticulture crops, such as potato, wheat, corn, soybean, sunflowers, cabbage, pumpkin, cucumber, tomato, leafy vegetables, celery, leek, and also used in floriculture, horticulture and vineyard.

Benefits for farmers

Compost provides a good amount of organic matter and the slower release of nutrients had positive effects on plants development, demonstrating demonstrated to be able to substitute, at least partially, mineral fertilizers.

The composts (ID:210-260-540) are all usable in organic farming. They are odorless product thanks to temperature monitoring and maturation time. Composts have a low C/N ratio: the products are well-stabilized but able to increase soil fertility. They have a good effect on acidic soils. Composts are closing material and nutrient cycle: secure source of carbon, nitrogen, phosphor, and other macro-/microelements. Composts contribute to improve soil biodiversity by increasing microbiological fauna & flora Increases soil fertility. They are characterized by a low release of nutrients and increase cation exchange capacity of soil. Moreover, composts reduce leaching and increase water retention capacity and thereby decrease vulnerability to erosion and desiccation (droughts). Furthermore, ID 210 is produced from pre-digested selectively collected organic waste streams, and the integrated anaerobic digestion process allows producing biomethane.

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