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Industrial Sized Tumbler

by Ed
(Storrs, CT)

I have a small farm and would like to build a homemade compost tumbler that can hold 5-10 yards. Do you know of anyone building tumblers at this scale? Do you foresee any biological limitations?

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Dec 04, 2011
That’s One Big Tumbler!
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Hi Ed,

Unfortunately, I do not know of anyone building compost tumblers with that capacity. But that doesn’t mean no one is doing it. Is there a particular reason you’re interested in a large tumbler versus one of the other composting techniques (e.g. windrow, pile, trench, in-vessel)?

Regarding your question about biological limitations – As long as the tumbler is built with the principles of creating quality compost in mind, I don’t think you’d have many concerns. However, that may be easier said than done on this scale.

I foresee your two biggest challenges involving aeration and moisture. You would want to make sure that the compost ingredients don’t just clump together, or else you’d be anaerobic composting quite quickly. That’s not necessarily a “bad” thing, but I don’t think that’s what your intentions are for this tumbler. You may want to consider some sort of batter system inside the tumbler.

If you want to process 5-10 yards of material at a time, you will also want to ensure the volume inside your tumbler is significantly larger to start. Otherwise, your material won’t “tumble” properly, no matter how good your batter system.

As for the moisture concern, you would want to ensure the tumbler drained well and allowed enough air into the system from outside the tumbler to keep the contents at the proper moisture levels (40%-60% is ideal).

I’d also recommend inoculating your tumbler contents prior to processing each batch. You can achieve this by adding 5-10% of any of the following: garden soil, forest soil, or cured compost.


Apr 29, 2012
by: Fugal Farmer

I am making plans to build a large tumbler that could handle this capacity. I plan on building a continuous FIFO system; raw product goes in one end, finished compost comes out the other. My plan is to use a large diameter, spiral corrugated, metal pipe encased in concrete and laid on rollers. It would have a hot face and cool face of the pipe to control temperature (black face exposed to sun to warm up, white face to maintain), and a PLC controlled motor and fan to control aeration/tumble and humidity. Let me know if you are interested in bouncing ideas back and forth.

Oct 17, 2013
To Ed regarding 5 to 10 yard rotary composter
by: Tab

Hello Ed we build industrial size composters in sulphur springs Texas if you are interested in gathering. Some information on what we can build contact me at 903 243 1310 thank you

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