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Table of Contents. These pages are scanned images. We apologize for any difficulty you have in reading them. You can purchase a complete copy of the On Farm Composting Handbook from NRAES.
Reprinted with permission from On-Farm Composting Handbook (NRAES-54). ©1992 by NRAES (Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service). All rights reserved. For more information, please contact, (607)255-7654, or

 Figures & Tables

Using the Glossary and References Sections
Chapter 1
Benefits and Drawbacks
The Benefits
The Drawbacks
Chapter 2
The Composting Process
What Happens during Composting
Factors Affecting the Composting Process
Changes in Materials during Composting
Sidebar: Composting Microorganisms
Chapter 3
Raw Materials
Raw Materials Characteristics
Common Raw Materials for Farm Composting
Determining Composting Recipes
Sample Calculation
Testing Raw Materials for Composting
Chapter 4
Composting Methods
Passive Composting of Manure Piles
Windrow Composting
Passively Aerated Windrows
Aerated Static Pile
Sample Calculation: Aerated Static Pile-Aeration System Design
In-Vessel Composting
Summary: Comparing the Composting Methods
Sidebar: Poultry Carcass Composting
Chapter 5
Composting Operations
Raw Material Storage and Handling
Mixing and Pile Windrow Formation
Curing, Storage, and Compost Handling
Chapter 6
Safety and Health
Season and Weather Management
Process Monitoring and Troubleshooting
Odor Control
Nitrogen Conservation
Determining When Active Composting is Finished
Manure Management with Composting
Sidebar: Using Compost for Livestock Bedding and Poultry Litter
Chapter 7
Site and Environmental Considerations
Site Selection
Separation Distances
Drainage Requirements
Environmental Considerations
Area Requirements
Sidebar: General Environmental Regulations
Chapter 8
Using Compost
Benefits of Compost
Compost Quality
Measuring the Quality of Compost
When is Compost Ready to Use?
Using Compost for Container Crops and Potting Mixes
Using Compost as a Soil Amendment for Gardens and Field Crops
Sidebar: Using Compost for Plant Disease Control
Chapter 9
Marketing Agricultural Compost
Farm Compost's Market Position
Evaluating and Developing the End User Market
Bag versus Bulk Sales
Selling Your Product
Chapter 10
Farm Composting Economics: Focus on Production Costs
General Production Costs
Comparative Costs of Composting Methods
Case Studies
Chapter 11
Other Options for Waste Management and Composting
Direct Land application and Other Land-Based Methods
Anaerobic Digestion/Biogas Production
Recycling Wastes as Livestock Bedding and Poultry Litter
Home or Back Yard Composting
Leaf and Yard Waste Composting

Appendix A
Characteristics of Raw Materials
Appendix B
Equipment Tables
Windrow-turning equipment
Grinding/shredding equipment
Commercial mixing equipment
Commercial screening equipment
Commercial composting systems
Equipment manufacturers and suppliers
Temperature probe distributors
Appendix C
Troubleshooting and Management Guide
Appendix D
Work Sheets and Forms
Sample temperature monitoring forms
Compost pad area calculation
Appendix E
Environmental Agencies
State environmental agencies
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional offices
Appendix F
Metric Conversions

Suggested Readings
Suggested Readings



Science &

in Schools


Reprinted with permission from On-Farm Composting Handbook (NRAES-54). ©1992 by NRAES (Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service). All rights reserved. For more information, please contact NRAES, (607)255-7654, or

For specific comments related to this page, please contact the Cornell Waste Management Institute (format and style), or Tom Richard (technical content).

Cornell Waste Management Institute © 1996
Dept of Crop and Soil Sciences
101 Rice Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-5601