Re: yet more on composting - to be or not to be

Ann, you've nailed the issue!

>    The upshot is that composting ahead of time - whether due to the
>composting itself or the BD prep in some way - enhanced the soil
>improving properties of livestock manure.  As noted by one respondant
>in this dialogue, this is an area that would seem to need research,
>because as you originally noted, there are many logistical and
>economic reasons to compost material **before** hauling it out to the
>field.  It would be worthwhile to determine if the in-situ benefits
>outweigh the pre-application benefits.  Ann

I find that what I think is "healthy soil" is probably a long way from what
"healthy" potentially can mean.  Therefore, I claim at least 95% ignorance
on what the advantages/disadvantages of composting are for general
recommendations.  the research is needed, for sure.  Furthermore, in the
meantime, just clear thinking, careful observations, and trial and error
are the way's I'm TRYING to proceed.  For my contexts, formal research is
too resource demanding to try on these questions, so I'll join the cheering
section for those who can do it.  In my practice, I'm composting, and
letting the cattle directly apply manure.  I use the compost in the "bad
spots" to the extent I have it.  (VERY limited quantities are available to
me at present, but I'm hoping to get the local towns to give me the chipped
tree clippings rather than put them in the land fill.  Chipping is too
expensive if I have to pay for it.)

I wonder if the feeding of antibiotics to livestock is related to the
improvement seen in composting.  This gives a chance for recovery of the
microbial community if it has been modified by the antibiotics.

R. H. (Dick) Richardson                 Office: 512-471-4128
Zoology Dept.                           Home:   512-476-5131
Univ. of Texas                          FAX:    512-471-9651
Austin, TX 78712