One of the most frequently asked questions is also one of the more complex to answer – what is quality compost?
It can be confusing to be presented with a range of manures, composted manures, raw mulches, quality composts and mulches and other organic materials – how do you decide which is best for you? The answer to this question will depend on how the material is to be used. The ideal properties of mulch for roadside landscaping will be very different to those required for top dressing turf.
In general, quality compost should comply with the Australian Standard for Soil Conditioners and Mulches (AS4454). Always remember that quality is not just about how a compost looks or how much it costs. Look for compost products that are supplied with clear product information, including information on how they should be applied in your particular situation. The Compost Australia Leaf Mark certified composts (based on AS4454) are designed for specific applications and are supplied with standard product information sheets.
Compliance with other certification schemes, such as organic certifications (BFA and NASAA), demonstrates the processors commitment to maintaining and improving product quality. Quality composts have undergone quality controlled processing – your compost processor will be willing to take you on a tour of their composting site to show you the process, monitoring and testing that is undertaken. Please contact one of our industry development officers for assistance with interpreting the results of compost analyses.
Poorly or non-composted materials pose the risk of introducing pests and pathogens, weed seeds and may behave less predictably than material which has undergone the stabilising phase of the composting process. Non-composted manures may conceal a surprising amount of salt, contributing significant amounts to the soil with prolonged use.