VRF Method of Composting

Forests, which are non-interfered by human activity, houses severalplants, animals, insects, fungi, bacteria and other living organisms,supported by soil, air and water which, in a way, are “cultivated” bynature itself. In the food chain, the role of living organisms; macro- ormicro- is unique. Due to their action organic matter gets decomposedin the soil ultimately forming humus. Composting simulates the aforesaidnatural decomposition. Practically, there is little difference between thehumus formed by the natural process and the composted material fromthe plant and animal wastes. Compost has a significant role in organicfarming.

After detailed study of different methods of composting, with severalyears of experimentation, Varanashi Research Foundation has developeda new technology named “VRF method of composting” (Fig. 45). Thismethod could be adopted to compost any biodegradable organic wasteor residue. To enrich the compost, materials like FYM, rock phosphate,cow dung slurry, neem cake, poultry manure are needed. VaranashiComposter a bio-inoculant containing bio-degraders, N-fixers,P-Solubilizers and bio-pesticides, is also used at the rates of 1-2 kgper tonne while composting. As an example, the recipes are given inthe table.

Fig. 45: VRF compost method


Ar.H.-Areca husk; Ar.L.-Areca leaf; V.C.-Varanashi Composter; FYM - Farm Yard Manure; R.P.-Rock Phosphate (18-20per cent P2O5); Ch.H.-Coffee Cherry husk; C.F-Coffee Fruit skin, Fr.L.-Forest Leaves; Dr.L.-Dry Leaves; O.C..-Neem/Castor Cake; C.D.-Cow Dung Slurry; C.P.-Coir Pith; P.M.-Poultry Manure; W.Pl.-Weed Plants; Ag.W.-Agro-wastes; T.W.-Town Waste.

• The material, if dry, should be pre-wetted to 70 per cent moisture.
• If rock phosphate with higher P2O5 content is used; then, quantity should be modified appropriately.
• Use of Varanashi Composter, not only facilitates composting, but also enriches with N-fixers, P-solubilizers and anti- pathogenic microbes. The optimum dose is 1-2 kg / tonne of raw material.

The VRF Composting Methodology involves the following steps

• On a level preferably shaded land, mark an area of 1.8 m (6 feet) width and 8 m (26 feet) length and construct a mud bund to a heightof about 10 cm (4 inches) on all the four sides.
•Spread a black HMHDPE or mulching plastic (90 gauge thick) sheetof 2.7 m (9 feet) width over the built-in area, so that a shallow tank isformed. Over this sheet, construct the heap to about 1 m heightlayer by layer using different materials.
•If necessary, water is sprinkled after each set of layer is made, sothat the moisture content in the material at the time of heaping isabout 70 percent and also that about 2.5 cm (1 inch) height of wateraccumulates at the bottom of the heap. If dry, pre-wet the materialrepeatedly 5 to 10 days before heaping.
•The heap is covered fully with the same black plastic sheet. It ismade secure by pressing wet mud all around along the base of theheap. The sheets are further covered using coconut leaves/dry grass/old gunny bags so as to protect them from deterioration due tosunlight. Heaps under natural shade do not require covering. Protectthe heap from animal disturbance.
•Heat develops inside the heap within 2-4 days of heaping. After amonth, remove the plastic cover and give a turning to the heapedmaterial, without damaging the sheet below (i.e. without disturbing5-10 cm of the material at the bottom). If necessary, repeat twotimes for faster degradation.
•If dry, moist the material before re-heaping.
•The compost is ready for the application within three to six months.It could be stored for some period. Mix the material well beforeapplying.
•A standard heap (2.1 m wide X 8 m long X 1 m high) can take about4-6 tonnes of wet material. The final composted material would weighapproximately 60 per cent of original material.Note: See inside back cover page for pictures