Composting with a tractor: Farming Ranching Agriculture  -- General Tractor Discussion Forum and Review Composting with a tractor: Farming Ranching Agriculture -- General Tractor Discussion Forum

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 04-07-2001, 12:17 Post: 26427
JonB



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 Composting with a tractor

I thinking about building a composting bin for my orchard, one I can turn over occassionally with the FEL. The basic design in my head is a box having three fixed sides, a removable top and a removable front side that allows the FEL to slide in for a load. Has anyone else tried this or do you see a problem with this? Would it be better to just throw everything in a pile? Thanks in advance for your help. JonB






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 04-07-2001, 16:00 Post: 26431
Paul Fox



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 Composting with a tractor

If you have room, I think an open pile would be better. I compost the bedding from my sheep, llama, chickens and turkeys, plus a friends horse, plus grass clippings all summer and leaves in the fall. I wind up with a pile about 3 feet deep, 10 feet wide and 20 feet long by spring. A major advantage of the open pile is that I can stir it up with my three-point tiller. The pile cooks all winter as I add to the top. As soon as the ground dries out enough in the spring, I'll turn it over with the bucket and mix it up with the tiller about once a month. By late summer, I have several cubic yards of VERY nice compost. I rotate piles so I always have compost ready to use in the spring. Last year I had so much, I bought an old manure spreader and spread it on my pastures. I think a box will limit your ability to turn the pile, and you'll wind up tearing it up with the front end loader.






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 04-07-2001, 16:24 Post: 26433
Ted Kennedy



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 Composting with a tractor

Jon, just about everyone I know who has a compact tractor (or larger) just heaps. This allows you to attack the pile from any angle and fully mix its contents. I see 4x4 post and batten pressure treated bins in customers' and neighbors' yards occasionally, but they pitch the compost by hand. I work mine by bringing a full bucket to maximum height and then dump out. I work from the bottom after striking downward once, from the top, with the leading edge of the bucket. I also make sure to clean my engine radiator screen, air vents in the grille, and check the air filter because disturbing the pile releases lots of fine particles into the air during the drier seasons. Thank you very mulch.






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 04-08-2001, 09:01 Post: 26462
RCH



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 Composting with a tractor

JONB, I built 2 compost bins side by side out of 6- 6 x 6" cedar posts ( NOT treated lumbar). Each bin is a little less than 6' square and open on the same side and wide enough to slide the FEL in. It's about 5 1/2'tall and tied together on the top with 2x6s ( on 3 sides) with galvinized plates and notches. For the side walls I used heavy metal mesh used in concrete so it will take so me pushing around. It's real easy to mix it up by just sticking the FEL in and lifting and partially pullling it out. As it 'cooks' down and other plant debri is available I move it between the two bins. 3 bins would not be unreasonable, if you got plently of stuff especially animal waste. I get great compost with hardly any manuel labor.






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 04-11-2001, 22:12 Post: 26598
Eric Edwards



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 Composting with a tractor

This is an interesting post because I was just thinking about how to do some large scale composting for a new garden on rather bad stony soil. I recently read that some folks make the bin walls by stacking hay bales which they incorporate into the pile after a year or two. I suppose they do it to keep the heat in. Does this sound reasonable?






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 04-12-2001, 06:36 Post: 26606
Paul Fox



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 Composting with a tractor

Sounds completely reasonable to me. In fact, I did it one year with some old mulch hay. I don't recall that the results were any better than my usual loose pile method, but it was neater in appearance, and kept the pile from expanding too much. A caution: Don't get the pile too deep. I'd say two bales high max. The reason is that the weight of the pile squeezes all the air out of the bottom. The bacteria that make a good crumbly pile are aerobic. If you squeeze out all the air, the anerobic bacteria go to work, and you get slime. BTDT.






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 04-13-2001, 09:52 Post: 26653
Eric Edwards



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 Composting with a tractor

I sounds like all I would have to do is ocassionally use my forks which are about four feet long and lift them through the pile to mix and incorporate new air channels and pockets. I think this would be easier and less messy than using a bucket to turn over the whole pile. Generally, my forks are alway on anyways. Will this approach work or is it necessary to turn over the whole pile? I have a 100 bales of mulch hay that was protecting a foundation footing this last winter to use up. So, I'm off to a start. That is, if the snow will ever disappear.






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 04-13-2001, 13:18 Post: 26663
gary mason



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 Composting with a tractor

How's this.... I'm working on my "compost pile". It's a pile about 1/3ac and 30' high of leaves collected by the local muni and dumped on the 1/3ac for 2 years. I haven't even tried to turm much of it over, but I'm taking off right now and selling it very fast. I'm taking my 54" tiller and running over the pile a few times then using my FEL and toothbar, raking back down the pile and loading it then. It's like black gold. The tiller really does a nice job of choping up the matted leaves and mixing them with the upper layers.
I'm selling it for $10/cubic yard delivered.

Thsi is the only way to compost...on a grand scale.

gary






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Farming Ranching Agriculture Forum

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