Composting Research

Composting trials on a property at
Thangool, Central Queensland

The Callide Valley Healthy Soils group in conjunction with Shane Krafft decided to conduct a Compost Trial on his property in Thangool. There was substantial interest in composting and to develop a composting process

Due to time constraints and the lack of turning equipment it was decided that a static pile method of composting would be the preferred process to explore. Furthermore, it would be the easiest process that a farmer or grazier could undertake with the minimum amount of equipment required.

One major advantage of this style of composting should be good fungi populations. As most local soils are generally bacterial dominant. The objective was to produce an abundance of fungi along with other species including Protozoa and Nematoades.

12th January 2013.

A Healthy Soils group meeting was held in the morning during which the planing process was conducted. After the meeting the remainder of the afternoon and some of next day was spent completing the Compost pile.


The moisture of the compost was approximately 50%. To measure the moisture content a handful of compost samples were used and squeezed. Only a few drops of water squeezed through the fingers. The pile heated up as expected. The temperature was not measured but when a hole was dug in the compost and a sample removed it was hot and could still be held in the hand,the temperature in the pile was too hot for a human hand.

9th February 2013.

The compost pile had cooled significantly. The pile was turned using a tractor and 4 in 1 bucket and more water was sprayed onto the pile to bring it back up to approximately 50% moisture.

The criteria used to choose a suitable compost pile site was:

  • To have adequate drainage
  • To have access to water.

To reduce the risk of the compost becoming water logged a high location on creek flats was selected so that the water could drain away from the compost during rainy periods.

The site had received 390mm of rainfall during the four weeks from the time the pile had been built. The chosen site remained well drained.


The pile heated up again after it was turned and more water was added; although, the temperature did not reach as high as when the pile was first started. The pile was not turned again until late May due to time constraints.

The intention was to turn the pile at least 1 or 2 more times.

26th May 2013

A Compost Workshop was conducted on site with guests Steve Capiness and Eric Glasser attending.

Compost pile was cool. Steve and Eric commented that the composting process was complete and that turning again now would probably have no effect.

On that advice it was decided not to disturb the pile and let the compost mature.


Ingredients used in compost
& approximate quantities.

Feedlot Manure 25 — 30%
Meat works paunch material 25 — 30%
Cereal hay 15 — 20%
Legume Hay 15 — 20%
Council coarse chopped green waste 5%
Compost tea 200 Litres
Humic Acid 1 — 2%
Soft Rock Phosphate 1 — 2%
Water 50%

The completed pile consisted of approximately 55 — 60 cubic metres.
A biology test was conducted on the compost to see determine the results of the trial process.

Microbiology Test Results

Compost Microbiology Test Results


See photos

A sincere thank-you from Shane Krafft to every-one who contributed to this project.
Ross McCamley for donating a semi load of manure.
Tony Bongers for transporting the manure.
Callide Valley Healthy Soils Group for the Humic Acid, Soft Rock Phosphate and the Microbiology Test.

— o O o —

Other Healthy Soils Research Projects