It's best to use winter or spring wheat straw for the preparation of compost. Rye wheat straw can also be used.
We will discuss the technology of compost preparation using wheat straw since it's the hardest type of straw which preserves its structure and is available in sufficient amounts.
While buying the straw, special attention must be paid to its quality.
Straw of good quality
Straw of fair quality
The straw must be dry, golden in color, with a wax deposit and clean, in other words with no weeds, chaff, rot or mould and it shouldn't be putrid or damaged by mice. It's rather undesirable to have clods of earth in the straw. Upon extended storage, the straw's color can change; it becomes dull with a grey shade. The change in the color provided that other quality parameters remain, doesn't have an effect on the compost's productivity. As for the length, in our opinion — the longer the straw, the harder it is to work with it.
Straw bale of bad quality, that isn't suitable for compost preparation
The straw's humidity mustn't be higher than 20%. It's especially important for straw that is put away for extended storage. If the straw has a higher humidity, it is better to is it for compost preparation in the first place.
In the winter time, straw mustn't be frozen, with ice in it; snow is allowed in small amounts.
Transportation of the unpressed straw
A hay carrier with pressed straw
Straw is delivered to the farm unpressed (which is a disadvantage in the view of storage and transporting costs), or pressed into bales or reels. Pressed straw is easier to transport and store.
A reel of straw in the field
Pressing of the straw with a «Kyrgyzstan» press
It's best to store the straw on concrete platform with a slope for the rain water to flow off. Upon placing the straw for an extended storage, observe the preventive fire-fighting regulations. While laying the straw, reels of moist, musty and rotten straw must be thrown out, in order to escape self-heating and the spoilage of good straw.
Straw is laid in ricks in different ways; the reels should be laid as even as possible, so that the rick doesn't fall apart, and so that it's easier to take the straw to prepare a new batch of compost. Moreover, straw that is laid in ricks correctly is better stored till the next crop.