MemberDecember 8, 2020 at 2:54 am010805
I have thought a bit of the uneven moisture problem in the Johnson Su reactor. It seems to be related to manure stacks seeping liquid or not.
My interpretation is that you are lacking a bacterial community, that is producing the appropriate EPS slimes needed to hold the water in place. There is many reports that bacterial inoculation can keep the moisture in the heap and prevent “sagging and seeping”.
Also the water used to set up the heaps could be an issue.
A. Francé states that manure associated microflora does not produce “colloids” – in modern words biofilms. I have looked around a lot, but I could not anything about that issue in modern papers.
The extreme version of such matrices is seen in colloidal compost – but I have neither had it in my hands, nor seen an analysis of the bacterial life. The elasticity of the material indicates some special extracellular matrix of microbial origin, but why and who? I would be really interested to learn more about that.
The second issue that could help is the polyvalent cations available that tune the slimes. If there is too much potassium (often the case in high manure heaps) the slimes become soft and liquidish. More on the calcium side works better. I usually add a dash of lime//oyster shells and rock dust to the piles.
I totally agree that the Johnson Su is probably not the method to produce compost – it is rather interesting to produce inoculum.