Volume 11 Part 1 Article 19: Barrel Composting

Volume 11 Part 1 Article 19
Year 1981
Title: Barrel Composting
Authors: J.D. Baker and J.W. Baker


Making compost under environmentally controlled conditions has been considered and attempted for almost fifty years. As early as 19 33 the Dano Cornpany in Denmark (1) considered the use of controlled aerobic fermentation for the disposal and utilisation of household and town refuse. Included in their necessary criteria was the need “to obtain a rich flora of organisms important for decomposition processes…, a mineralisation of the organic matter into easily assimilated nutritive salts…, and a converting of the organic matter into humuö”. Their needs differed little from the requirements of a good phase I fermentation practised in mushroom canpost production. In 1937 Stoller (2) and his co-workers described an apparatus they had constructed from a butter chum to produce a rapidly prepared compost.

One ccmmercial application of the Dano system has been installed in New Zealand. After a 15 year trial period the Auckland City Council (3) commissioned a full scale Dano compost plant in 1963 to compost 170,000 m3 per annum of refuse.

The Glenian barrel was the brainchild of Mr. J.M. (Jack) Baker, who in 1964 visited the New Zealand Dano Complex to investigate the feasibility of using the Dano principles to produce compost suitable for mushroom production. Initially a small prototype barrel was developed, capable of producing compost for 190 m2 of bed area. After eight months of successful trialling, the present 40 tonne capacity was constructed.

Similar techniques of barrel composting for mushrooms have been successfully utilized by Campbell Soups in the United States.

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