Witte claims 90% carbon retention and reduction of ofgassing with this technique:
From what I can gather, wood chips are mixed with 30-40% volume of cow stable manure. The moisture of the material should be about fifty percent. The material is loaded alternately onto a manure spreader, which mixes and spreads by advancing very slowly creating a windrow of a maximum height of 2.5 meters. Then the surface is pressed (with a wheel loader). The top is seeded with hay tea. Temperatures should not exceed 55C, if that is the case, the windrow is compacted. The substrate is ready after 8 weeks without turning when the temps reach 40C, but can stay in place until needed. No cover, but in rainy areas a roof may be necessary.
Information taken from this german article
Claus-Robert Wonschik, Phd Thesis (German) link with english abstract He presented at Istanbul W3, if you have access to papers: C.-R. Wonschik, A. Heilmann: “Improvement of agricultural soil by microbial carbonated organic waste”, in: Istanbul-3W-Congress-Proceedings -2013,; Istanbul May 2013, ISBN-Nr. 978-605-6326-912,
Anyway, I thought this was an interesting composting method for manure, cost effective according to Wonschik because of less labour (no turning) and esp. if woodchips are free!
Yes i have heard of it, in Switzerland, but last week i learned of a farmer in France doing something similar. Average farm. They use the wood chips as a bedding for the cows and put it out after 4 weeks i thought he said. My neighbor thinks of doing that too. Smaller farm and it will be a welcome contribution to the permaculture garden we have started to establish last year.
The problem i see however is that farmers start to chop up all of the maythorn bushes which act as an oak mother over here. and shrubs and last refuges for birds in places where they can't come with the tractor because it's too soggy. My neighbor is really looking forward to getting rid of all that rubbish as he calls it. Which puncture his tires and seem to eat quite a bit of land.
I hope to convince him to do it in a controlled manner and chop up fast growing nitrogen fixers which take kindly to coppicing, like acacia pseudorobinia and alder which is abundant here and start to cultivate and propagate these trees on a large scale for the purpose of healing the land. And leave the thorny shrubs be mostly.
More like a managed system. As a side effect we would have all the stems that we can't shred to bits because they are too thick for the shredder, we can keep them as fire wood or poles(acacia) or make hugel cultures with them(alder) and even inoculate the alder trees with mycelium plugs, although that takes a lot of preparation.
Enough to be thinking about.
We had record heat summer for the second time, extremely long dry period, farmers are seeing we have to change the way we do things, and this is a promosing way i find, although it could turn out to be a double edged sword.
Some farmers hate they have to have hedges, prefer just fields, i can see them starting to rip the hedges up, which would be catastrophic for bio diversity. Something tells me that's the way it is going to go, just strip the last refuges for bio diversity to do this fashionable thing they saw on television.
I hope to do it differently, start propagating trees.
Location: Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Europe
posted 1 week ago
Hugo, does the french farmer compost the bedding after taking it out, or does he use a composting-in-situ deep bedding?
Acacia Pseudorobinia can be very invasive I heard.
One farmer said composting it afterward, the other talked about deep bedding, more or less.
What will the difference be you think?
Pseudoacacia does have shoots, which can be a problem if you let them get to big to mow over. Still it is in a lot of places here especially squeezed in between a road and a field. I guess farmers mow it. Or it invades a rocky bad land on a slope or something. And has a famous honey, acacia honey.
hau Hugo, you have stated the problems facing the planet and more importantly, you brought up the culprits and some of their misinformed shenanigans which create more problems for the person taking the action.
I personally find it very telling, that the people who ravaged their own land so much that they then decided to go ruin the rest of the planet with their bad farming practices.
Of course I am sure they think they have to do what they do. It is just the nature of the human that they fail to think or learn from their past mistakes.
Hau Susan, good post and finds, thank you for putting them in a forum.
Hugo Morvan wrote:One farmer said composting it afterward, the other talked about deep bedding, more or less.
What will the difference be you think?
Based on what I've read here and elsewhere, I would say there is.
Uncomposted manure will leach nutrients - nitrogen will wash out for ex. Which is why legal restrictions are in place for the amount permissible per ha of field. Plus ammonium (?) gases out (the manure smell), so you lose N to the air. Hence the farmer's comment on composting it.
Compost does not leach nutrients like this (even though the same restrictions may apply).
Deep bedding, depending on how it's done, can be a composting process in itself, the browns (wood chip or straw pellets) are left in place and mixed by the animals treading with their droppings. The material is topped up and removed about once a year. Maybe someone on this forum can elucidate just how well composted this deep litter is when it is deemed "ready for removal"?
The claim of the process of microbial carbonisation is that much more of the N and C are retained compared to the other processes - if I remember correctly, every turning causes more CO2 to be released?
testing is showing that turning compost heaps lets already gassed off CO2, and some ammonia vapor to exit the heap.
We are not finding that turning compost actually speeds up or adds to the amount of CO2 released. (confusing?)
I do several different methods on Buzzard's Roost but next season I will be stopping the turning, since the research is showing that a properly built (layered and soil capped) heap is left alone for 3 to 6 months the break down happens just as fast as if it were turned.
Without a soil cap, or even something fabric covering the heap, not only CO2 escapes but also several other gasses will exit the heap, these can be Sulfur and other mineral compounds.
Nitrogen can even exit as nitrous oxide.
I have used deep bedding in our chicken coop but here in the Southern US it doesn't work as well as it would in NewYork State. The reason is winter temps.