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Composting and silage of residual flows

HOW TO MAXIMISE THE RECYCLING OF NUTRIENTS AND ORGANIC MATTER FROM RESIDUAL FLOWS FOR THE BENEFIT OF SOIL QUALITY AND PLANT NUTRITION?

The potential of many residual flows is not yet fully utilised. We are investigating the suitability of these flows to be valorised in the form of compost or as a fertiliser. The research focus is on:

  • The optimisation of the starting mix, the process sequence and the conditions during the storage of the products.
  • The judicious application of different composts and silage products
  • Underpinning of a set of indicators for compost quality and rapid screening

SOME CONCRETE RESEARCH CASES

  • Recycling of brown and green waste streams (e.g. heather chopper, used crop substrates, harvest residues from vegetables)
  • Hygienisation of manure products (e.g. solid fraction of cattle manure)
  • Conditioning of headland manure storage to limit N losses
  • Auxiliaries (e.g. clinoptilolite, biochar, etc.) for process optimisation and reduction of N losses and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-composting of livestock manure and vegetable waste streams (e.g. management residues)
  • Impact of compost and silage products on soil quality and nutrient dynamics
  • Compost as a replacement for peat in sustainable cultivation substrates (see Sustainable cultivation substrates: substitution of peat by compost and plant fibres)

RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE

  • PILOT COMPOSTING SITE (certified OBA compost)
  • Laboratories for Plant Sciences, Crop Husbandry, Soil and Environment
  • Multi-year field trial operation for soil management
  • Greenhouses for pot trials

SOME OF THE RESULTS

NIRS was tested as a rapid screening technique for monitoring stability and chemical composition during the composting process and for the finished compost.

An extensive dataset has been generated with compost characteristics (organic matter content, nutrient contents and ratios, pH, EC, stability, ...) for:

  • Slurry compost
  • Compost with thick fraction as its main component
  • Compost of vegetable residues + (alternative) brown residual flows

Projects

  1. Genesys

More info: koen.willekens@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, bart.vandecasteele@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, bert.reubens@ilvo.vlaanderen.be

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