MSW compost reduces nitrogen volatilization during dairy manure composting

Sikora, L.J.

Compost Science and Utilization 7(4): 34-41


ISSN/ISBN: 1065-657X
DOI: 10.1080/1065657x.1999.10701982
Accession: 003492725

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Manures lose N through volatilization almost immediately after deposit. Attempts to control losses include the addition of a C source to stimulate nitrogen immobilization. Composting is a treatment process that recommends the addition of carbonaceous materials to achieve a C:N ratio of 30:1 to stimulate degradation and immobilize nitrogen. Dairies near cities may be able to reduce N loss from manures by composting with urban carbonaceous residues such as municipal solid waste (MSW) or MSW compost that, by themselves, have little agronomic value. Studies were conducted using a self-heating laboratory composter where dairy solids were mixed with MSW compost to determine the reduction of N loss during composting. One-to-one mixtures (v/v) of dairy manure solids and MSW compost were composted and NH3 volatilization, CO2 evolution and temperatures were compared to composting of manure alone. Addition of MSW compost resulted in increased CO2 evolution and reduced N loss. Nitrogen loss from composting dairy manure alone was four to ten times greater than that from composting dairy manure mixed with MSW compost. Adjustment of the C:N ratio to 25 by adding MSW compost to manure appeared to be the major factor in reducing N losses.