Agricultural Composting and Water Quality

Learn how to conduct efficient, cost-effective, on-farm composting that promotes compost quality and protects water quality. This OSU Extension publication includes six chapters:

Windrows with grass filter strips at Wintergreen Farm in Notic, OR
Wintergreen Farm (Noti, OR) uses grass filter strips to reduce nutrient leaching and soil erosion.
  1. On-Farm Composting: What You Need to Know
  2. Site Selection
  3. Compost Site Layout and Design
  4. Choose the Composting Method That's Right for You
  5. The Composting Process and its Impact on Water Quality
  6. Manage Runoff and Leachate

Examples of on-farm composting in Oregon

These experienced farmers incorporate composting into their farming operation in various ways.
Winter Green Farm

Agricultural Composting in Oregon

OSU faculty and staff interviewed 26 established agricultural composters mainly in the Willamette Valley. All of these crop and livestock farmers integrate composting into their farming operations. Survey results provide insight into the practices used to protect water quality and attitudes about the regulation of composting. Survey results are available in the WSARE final project report: Protecting Water Quality and Promoting Economic Efficiency at Agricultural Composting Facilities (Project OW10-329).

WSARE logo

This Extension publication and survey were funded by a Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Producer + Professional grant from 2010-2013. 

 

Windrow turner in operation

Marc Anderson (OSU Extension) demonstrates
his windrow turner at ACRES.

ACRES Composting Workshops

Learn more about on-farm composting at ACRES, a two-day hands-on composting workshop held at the OSU North Willamette Research & Extension Center.

WSU Extension Compost Resources

This WSU website includes:

  • Instructions for measuring compost bulk density
  • The WSU Compost Miix Calculator which helps you determine optimal feedstock ratios
  • Description of a simple bioassay for testing herbicide residues in compost (i.e. clopyralid)
  • Compost facility operator training workshop at WSU-Puyallup

Other Composting Resources

Our composting resources page includes links to the following information:

  • Introductory composting information
  • Environmental considerations
  • Using compost and organic wastes on farms
  • Composting at livestock operations
  • Regulatory information for Oregon
  • Detailed technical information
  • Compost organizations