How To Start Windrow Composting

Windrow composting is a popular and effective method for industrial composting of organic materials, including agricultural residues, yard waste, and other organic waste streams. It involves creating long, narrow piles of compostable materials called windrows and managing their decomposition through regular turning and monitoring. Here’s how the windrow composting system works:

1. Site Selection:

Choose a suitable location for the composting site. Factors to consider include accessibility, distance from sensitive areas (residences, water bodies), and availability of space.

2. Material Collection and Preparation:

Collect organic materials such as crop residues, manure, yard waste, and other compostable materials. These materials should be properly sorted to exclude non-compostable items.

3. Windrow Formation:

Create long, narrow piles of the organic materials, typically 3 to 5 feet high and 10 to 12 feet wide. The length of the windrows can vary based on the available space and equipment. Click here to learn more.

4. Turning and Aeration:

Regularly turn and mix the windrows using suitable windrow compost turners. Turning helps ensure even decomposition, proper aeration, and temperature management.

Turning frequency varies depending on factors like the type of materials, climate, and desired composting speed. It can range from once every few days to a few weeks.

Crawler type windrow compost turner working
Crawler type windrow compost turner working

5. Temperature Monitoring:

Use temperature probes or thermometers to monitor the internal temperature of the windrows. Proper composting temperatures (usually around 130-160°F or 54-71°C) is important for compost windrow quickly. It indicate active microbial activity and pathogen reduction.

6. Moisture Management:

Maintain proper moisture levels within the windrows. The composting process requires adequate moisture, typically around 40-60% moisture content.

7. Decomposition and Maturation:

The aerobic fermentation process takes several weeks to several months, during which the organic materials break down and mature into stable compost. Finished compost is characterized by a dark, crumbly texture and an earthy smell.

Designs of moving type windrow compost equipment
Designs of moving type windrow compost equipment

8. Curing:

After active decomposition is complete, allow the windrows to cure for a period. This stage helps further stabilize the compost and reduce the risk of pathogens.

9. Screening and Grading:

Once fully matured, the compost can be screened to remove any remaining large materials and create a uniform product.

10. Application:

The finished compost can be used to enrich soil in agricultural fields, landscaping, gardens, and other applications.

Windrow composting offers several benefits, including efficient use of space, scalability for large volumes of organic materials, and the ability to manage various types of compostable waste. However, proper management, monitoring, and turning are crucial to ensure successful composting and the production of high-quality compost. If you are interested in it, you can visit for more information.