Compost Pile Characteristics

Desired Characteristics


The table below gives some desired characteristics you should strive to achieve in order to create an environment which will promote growth of beneficial organisms and rapid composting.

Desired Characteristics of Raw Material Mixes

Characteristic Reasonable Range
Preferred Range
Carbon/Nitrogen Ration (C:N)
20:1 - 40:1
25:1 - 30:1
Moisture Content
40 - 65%
50 - 60%
pH 5.5 - 9
6.5 - 8.5
Bulk Density (Pounds Per Cubic Yard)
Less than 1,100 (40 Pounds Per Cubic Foot
 

Characteristics of Common Livestock Manures


The table below gives some useful characteristics of common livestock manures. C:N ratio indicate the degree to which you might need to add high-carbon materials. Moisture content may influence the type of high-carbon materials you might choose to add.

Characteristics of Manure

Animal %N:
Dry Weight
C:N Ratio: Weight to Weight
Moisture Content %: Wet Weight
Bulk Density: Pounds Per Cubic Yard
Horse 1.6 30 72 1,379
Beef Cattle
2.4 19 81 1,458
Dairy Cattle
3.2 15.5 81  
Sheep 2.7 16 69  
Swine 3.1 14 80  
Laying Hens
8.0 6 69 1,479

Production of Fresh Manure by Different Animals


The following information can be used to estimate the volumes of livestock waste generated at your site. From this you can estimate the need for high-carbon materials to mix and the approximate size of the area needed for processing. 

Production & Characteristics of Fresh Manure Per Day*

*As Produced with no Bedding or Water.
Animal Animal Weight (Pounds)
Pounds of Manure
Cubic Feet
Water %
Horse 1,000 45 0.75 79.5
Beef Cattle
1,000 60 1.00 88.4
Dairy Cattle
1,000 82 1.32 87.3
Sheep 100 4.0 0.062 75.0
Finishing Pig
200 13.0 0.22 90.8
Poultry: Broiler
2 0.14 0.0024 74.8
Poultry: Layer
4 0.21 0.0035 74.8