Of heat, pile reduction and microbs
My motivation for composting is likely different than most of you here. Having a farm with horses one of the biggest stable management issues is how am I are going to deal with the stall waste. My biggest motivation for composting is reducing the size of the manure pile, that I get great compost for my gardens is an added bonus. (One I am very happy about, but really wasn't expecting to appreciate as much as I do!)
I use a a pelleted 100% pine bedding. It comes as an extruded pellet that fluffs up with the addition of water/urine. It's a little more expensive but it's nature being smaller than shavings but bigger than dust not only makes it easier to clean stalls but makes it amazingly fast to break down. My pile is a pretty consistent mix of manure, maybe a touch more pine bedding than manure, urine, (rubber mats and the absorption qualities of the bedding influences this) and a small amount of uneaten hay. The stuff practically evaporates. Again unlike most of you my problem isn't getting a hot pile, I'm wondering if my pile gets too hot!
I was talking to a commercial organic composter last week at a local garden show and he seemed to indicate that you might manage a pile differently if your goal is reduction as oppose to getting a quality finished compost product. I'm not sure, but I think he was suggesting that by not turning my piles often enough I'm killing the microbes. I thought you turned piles to introduce oxygen to heat the pile up!
Keeping in mind that my primary goals are a bit different, my compost mix is probably more consistent, and my quantities of compost material are significantly higher than most, could someone give me a little more insight on heat as it relates to microbes, pile reduction rate and management for outcome?
I'm not sure if I have an issue I should consider or if some sales guy was trying to infer my own results are inferior so I should buy some of his! (Which is so not happening!) I did drop some samples of my compost off today at the ag extension office for testing, so in a couple weeks I should know more about what it is I'm making, but I don't think they consider the microbes question.