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8420soil science part 3

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  • Jeff
    Dec 14, 2008
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      I don't understand this. Well cured compost has very little N. In
      fact a lot of it is lost during high temperature heap composting

      In a way you are right
      Ok, start with 1 ton of wheat straw, organic matter is roughly 50
      percent carbon
      SO 1000 lbs carbon, the straw has a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 600 to
      1. This means there is 1.67 lbs of Nitrogen. So the finished compost
      has a carbon to nitrogen ratio 20-30:1
      Working backwards, this means the finished compost pile is 67-100lbs.
      There is still roughly 1.67 lbs nitrogen, but the percentage is only
      1.67-2.5percent.

      Because the nitrogen is so valuable to the microbes very little is
      lost to volatilization. More importantly because the finished product
      is controlled by the carbon to nitrogen ration: The finished compost
      pile will be smaller.
      Notice that the organic fertilizers have low N content, this in part
      could explain the failure of traditional fertilizer tests, and where
      the nutrient availability concept really comes into its own. I think
      that natural farming would rather use direct mulch, because
      Instead of sitting in a compost pile that extra carbon acts as soil
      organic matter, holding water and nutrients and all the other benefits
      that come with it. This benefit of high carbon materials is not a
      small thing especially for tired soil
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