ILVO blogs ILVO BLOGS from the Experimental Platform for Agroecology in Hansbeke: Making farm compost with the three of us
The Experimental Platform for Agroecology in Hansbeke is a collaboration between ILVO, PHAE and RHEA. The 50 ha of organic land offer a unique experimentation space for agroecological principles. We regularly blog about these experiments via the ILVO website and social media.
On May 7, 2020, we started setting up two composting lines at the Experimental Platform for Agroecology. Both composition and machine selection proved to be important.
The compost pile contained farmyard manure (i.e., an animal component!), wood chips, leaf litter, and natural grass clippings. Interestingly, as an individual farm, you will be able to make arrangements with two other farms as a 'source' of compostable material, to have the woody (brown) fraction and the green (wetter) fraction balanced in the composting.
The Flemish Land Agency is following up this composting trial in the context of cooperative farm composting, MAP6. So this is actually a pioneering situation. The brown components come from the farm itself. The stable manure is supplied by another farmer, namely a dairy farmer. The natural grass clippings come from the Drongengoed forest estate.
The compost is regularly turned and moistened with a compost turner from Ménart under contract to the PCG (Provincial Research Centre for Vegetable Growing of East Flanders) vzw. Koen Willekens of ILVO supervises the compost production and application on the fields.
The goal of PHAE (farmer Felix) is to provide fertile and robust soil through compost. Compost brings in nutrients and the desired soil biology. Compost also helps to increase the carbon content of the soil, making it a lot more resilient.