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How to Use In-Vessel Composter to Compost Manure

Composting manure is an eco-friendly and sustainable way to manage agricultural waste while producing nutrient-rich organic material for soil improvement. In-vessel composting is a highly efficient method for this purpose, as it offers better control over the composting process and helps contain odors. In this guide, we will take you through the steps of using an in-vessel composter to compost manure effectively.

Selecting the Right In-Vessel Composter:

Before you start composting manure, it’s essential to choose the right in-vessel composter machine. Consider factors such as the size of your operation, the volume of manure generated, and the available space. In-vessel composters come in various sizes and designs, so select one that suits your needs.

Gathering Materials:

To begin composting, gather the necessary materials, including the manure, a carbon source (like straw or wood chips), and a compost thermometer. Ensure the manure is well-mixed and free from contaminants like plastic or metal.

Creating the Ideal Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratio:

Manure is rich in nitrogen, so to achieve the optimal composting conditions, you’ll need to balance it with a carbon-rich material. Aim for a carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratio of around 25:1. Mixing in straw or wood chips will help achieve this balance.

Loading the In-Vessel Composter:

Carefully load the in-vessel composter with layers of manure and carbon material. Ensure even distribution, and avoid creating large air pockets, which can hinder decomposition.

Moisture Management:

Maintaining the right moisture content is crucial. The compost pile should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Regularly check the moisture levels and add water if necessary. A compost thermometer can also help gauge the moisture content.

Turning and Aeration:

In-vessel composters are equipped with mechanisms to facilitate turning and aeration. Proper turning ensures even decomposition and helps prevent the formation of anaerobic zones, which can lead to foul odors. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for turning frequency.

Temperature Monitoring:

Using a compost thermometer, monitor the internal temperature of the compost pile regularly. The ideal temperature range for composting manure is 130-160°F (54-71°C). Consistently high temperatures are necessary to kill pathogens and weed seeds.

Time and Patience:

Composting manure is a process that takes time. The length of the composting period can vary depending on factors such as temperature, compost pile size, and the efficiency of the composter. On average, it can take a few weeks to several months to produce mature compost.

Testing Maturity:

Before using the compost, make sure it has matured. Mature compost should be dark, crumbly, and have an earthy smell. Perform a germination test by planting a few seeds in a sample of the compost to ensure it doesn’t harm your plants.

Using the Compost:

Once your manure compost is ready, it can be used to enrich your soil. Incorporate it into your garden beds, fields, or as a topdressing for existing plants. Compost adds valuable nutrients, improves soil structure, and enhances water retention.


Composting manure using an in-vessel composter is a sustainable and environmentally responsible way to manage agricultural waste. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can efficiently convert manure into a valuable resource that benefits both your farm and the environment. Remember that successful composting requires attention to detail, regular monitoring, and a commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. SX also have other compost machine to dispose of manure, such as groove type composter machine. If you are interested in it, please contact us.