The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Oyo state, South west Nigeria has listed the numerous benefits of compost, saying it makes soil conditions better for growth and improves crop yields
The Head of Land, Water Resources Programme, IAR&T, Dr Olateju Adeyolanu, who gave the advice in an interview with Journalists also said that other benefits of compost includes: building up soil organic matter, regulating soil structure and improving plant root penetration.
She therefore urged farmers to always practice it so as to enhance soil physical properties.
“Composting is a process involving the breakdown of organic materials by micro-organisms in the presence of moisture, air and warmth, compost making helped to reduce pollution, while serving as part of environmental management strategy, promoting crop and human health,” she explained.
The Soil Scientist added that compost was a major source of plant nutrients and growth hormones.
According to her, the type of compost and duration of process depended on management of the compost heap or pile.
Adeyolanu noted that composting process was hastened and that good quality compost was produced when moisture, air, watering and turning were done when due.
“Modern techniques have reduced the period of composting to 6 to 8 weeks. A mature compost heap will have moisture content less than 40 per cent, the temperature of the heap will be that of the environment (ambient temperature).
“Compost should be applied as close to the time of crop establishment as possible to ensure maximum uptake of available nutrients, it can be worked into the soil, since it slowly releases plant nutrients and has residual effects on succeeding crops.
“In fish farming, compost can serve as source of feed for fishes or provide nutrients for the growth of organisms in the pond upon which the fish can feed,” she said.