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Dairy Compost

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Green in Idaho, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 833

    Any input on information related to e.coli and dairy compost?

    I was talking to a microbiologist who works at lab doing health testing. Compost was the topic. She pointed out dairy cows are huge resevoirs of the e.coli bateria.

    Yes, I fully understand the temp should kill pathogens, but where not all compost is 100% correct, I wonder about the use of dairy compost in veggie gardens particularly.....????
     
  2. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 327

    If you're composting it yourself, you need to be sure it heats up above 120 degrees for 15 days including turning it several times during that time. The entire pile must be cooked. And 120 degrees is enough to cook when it is applied over time. Most hot piles run from 150 to a fire-hazardous 190 degrees. Cold compost or compost that is not turned will end up pathogen free in about a year in our temperate climate. It's amazing that different species (insects, worms, and microbes) can eat human pathogens and poop out stuff that is pathogen free. Finished compost is nothing more than the remnants of thousands of cycles through the digestive tracts of tens of thousands of species of critters.

    Commercial compost makers are usually tested weekly for both temps and pathogens. They have to have 'undetectable' levels of pathogens for about 25 weeks in a row or the compost must be recycled. It doesn't seem to matter what they start with in the way of pathogens - they all cook out real fast.
     

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