Most of the steps are common to the three methods of composting. Step 4 or the addition of fungus activator, however, does not apply to the traditional method. Step 8 or the addition of bacteria inocula, on the other hand, applies only to the Bio-Enriched method of composting.
Step 1. Gather Materials
- Gather rice straw, weeds, sugarcane bagasse, corn stalks and stovers, leguminous materials such as ipil-ipil, azolla sesbania, mungbean, cowpea, soybean crop residues, and animal manure. Soak rice straw for 6-12 hours before piling. Chop materials for easier decomposition.
- Ideal proportion of composting materials is 3 parts rice straw and 1 part mixture of animal manure (75%) and leguminous plant residues (25%). Less than this proportion prolongs the decomposition process.
Step 2. Prepare compost area
- Choose a shaded and well-drained area.
- To compost 5 tons of rice straw, we need a volume of 90 m3. A plot size of 2m x 6m 1.5 m can accommodate 1 ton of rice straw. Make 5 plots. If you want smaller plot size of 2m x 3m x 1.5m can accommodate 500 kg of rice straw materials. Make 10 small plots to be able to compost 5 tons rice straw.
Step 3. Pile materials
- Traditional Method – Make six layers of compost materials, each layer about 25 cm thick. A layer of compost material consists of three parts rice straw, one part manure, soil, and ash or lime spread on top of each other. Stack the layers until the compost heap reaches 1.5m high. Insert several perforated bamboo poles into compost bed to serve as breathers.
- Rapid Method (Trichoderma) – To provide aeration at the bottom, construct a platform or use available materials such as coconut leaf midribs, kakawate, banana trunk, and bamboo. Make six layers of compost materials, each layer about 25 cm thick. A layer of compost material consists of three parts rice straw, one part mixture of animal manure and leguminous materials, and a thin layer of fungus activator known as compost Fungal Activator (CFA). There is no need to put ash/lime or bamboo breathers.
- Bio-Enriched Method (Trichoderma and Azotobacter) – Mix all the rice straw, animal manure, and leguminous materials into 3:1 proportion. Apply 2.5 kg of the fungus activator, know as BIO-QUICK to every tone of composting material. Spread evenly on top of the first layer. Place 2-3 perforated bamboo poles horizontally across the first layer before adding the next layer. Make three layers.
Step 4. Spread fungus activator
- Spread evenly 5-10 kg of Trichoderma fungus activator to every ton of composting material.
Step 5. Water compost heap
- Water each layer compost heap until it is sufficiently moist.
Step 6. Cover compost heap
- Cover with plastic sheet, used sacks, banana and coconut leaves to increase temperature and prevent too much water into the compost heap which could leach the nutrients.
Step 7. Turn compost heap
- Traditional Method – Turn up side down or rotate, or mix compost heap after 3 weeks, then again after 5 weeks.
- Rapid Method (Trichoderma) – Turn compost heap from top to bottom after 2 weeks. This step, however, is optional.
- Bio-Enriched Method (Trichoderma and Azobacter ) – Remove cover after 2-3 weeks or when the compost heap has decomposed. Separate undecomposed materials for further composting.
Step 8. Add bacteria inoculum
- For every ton of compost material, spread evenly on top of each compost layer 2.5 kg of bacteria inocula, known as BIO-FIX and incubate for 1 week. Cover the compost heap but do not allow to dry.
Step 9. Harvest compost
- Traditional Method – Harvest 4 weeks after the second rotation of the compost heap. The N content of the compost is now 1.5%. Use 2 tons of compost per hectare.
- Rapid Method (Trichoderma) – Harvest 1-2 weeks after rotating the compost heap. The N content of the ripe compost varies from 1.0% – 3.0% depending on the amount of manure and nitrogenous plant materials used as substrates. Use all the compost produced in the field which could be about 2.0 tons per hectare. If commercial organic fertilizer produced through the rapid composting method is used, mix 8-10 bags per hectare.
- Bio-Enriched Method (Trichoderma and Azobacter) – After 1 week of incubation of the bacteria inocula, the compost is ready for use. N content of the compost ranges from ranges from 1.5% to 3%. You need only apply 250-500 kg or 5-10 bags compost per hectare. Presence of live N-fixing bacteria in the compost will boost total N in the soil.
- There are currently 36 Mass Production Centers (MPC) for fungal activators and 17 Compost Production Centers (CPC) accredited by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to make these activators available to farmers. These centers include government, non-government organizations, and cooperatives. There are 15 similar agencies producing both fungal activators and ready-to-use compost.
- BIOTECH and IBS also provide training for cooperatives and entrepreneurs who wish to go into commercial organic fertilizer and mass production of these microorganisms.
Step 10. Apply compost
- Broadcast compost as basal fertilizer before final harrowing during land preparation.
- The decomposing compost heap can generate heat up to 60Â°C. Exercise care in handling the compost while rotating it. Wear protective gloves or foot gear so as not to scald your hands and feet.
- Composting materials and microorganisms may cause allergies, although they are non-pathogenic. To avoid inconvenience from itching, cover nose and mouth with mask, use long sleeved clothes, and wash body and hand after working on the compost.