Urban centres produce a mountain of so-called ‘green waste’ that either ends up in landfill or is turned into low-grade compost used for landscaping and other low value applications. Meanwhile, organic farmers are crying out for good quality compost. Compost from green waste is a bulky, low value product with variable nutrient content. But this is about to change, according to organic writer and trainer Mr Tim Marshall, speaking at the launch of an appeal for funds for a new project by the Organic Federation of Australia’s Environmental Research and Education Trust. According to Marshall, the project will examine “…how to tailor compost to particular end-users by adding the right nutrients. Compost producers will be linked to local organic farmers to develop regional industries ensuring high quality compost ends up with the highest quality food, saving energy and providing local jobs.”
The project was launched at the International Symposium on Organic Matter Management and Compost Use in Horticulture being held at the University of Adelaide. Prof Peter Cornish, Chair of the Organic Trust, says “Development of the organic food sector is being held back by a shortage of organic grain needed for products like bread, breakfast cereals and snack foods, as well as for organic animal industries such as dairy and poultry. Low availability of soil phosphorus is limiting organic grain production in Australia. Organic growers cannot use superphosphate, which is a major input to non-organic grain production, but they may use compost made with rock phosphate. Commercial supplies of quality compost are vital for growth of the organic sector. This project will develop high value compost specifically for grain producers, who will be linked to dairy farmers and other local end-users.” The project will also cater for market gardeners, but they have different needs, according to Johannes Biala, Convenor of the Adelaide Symposium. He says market gardeners have often used high inputs of phosphorus in manures, so they need a tailored compost that is higher in nitrogen. Tax deductible donations for this project can be made via the Trust website.
Organic Federation of Australia