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Moisture and Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio Calculation Spreadsheet (updated March 2014)

Developed by Tom Richard, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Cornell University
Shamelessly modified by Jake Kruger, The Homestead Laboratory
To use this spreadsheet, select your ingredients in cells A16 to A18 (up to four ingredients).
The spreadsheet then calculates the mixture moisture content and C/N ratio.
Alternatively, the spreadsheet will calculate the proper proportions for moisture and/or C/N goals (see below).
For further explanations of the formulas embedded in this worksheet, see the Science and Engineering section of the
Cornell Composting web site:
NOTE - do not copy and paste the existing data out of the table, as the formulas may remain tied to the old data.
Input areas are shaded blue or purple. Formula results are in red cells.
Ingredient % Moisture % Carbon % Nitrogen
Fish wastes (gurry, racks, and so on) 76.0 38.2 10.6
Seaweed 53.0 32.3 1.9
Cattle manure 81.0 45.6 2.4
Newsprint 5.5 62.5 0.1
Calculated mixture moisture content:
Calculated mixture C/N ratio:
Calculated mixture volume:
The required mass of the third material can be determined given characteristics, the masses of the first two, and goals:
moisture goal: 55.0 (set these goals to match your requirements)
C/N ratio goal: 30.0
volume goal (gal): 202.0
For these same moisture and C/N goals, the required mass of the fourth material can be determined given
the masses of the first three:
Notes: negative numbers indicate that the characteristics of the added ingredient are not
on the opposite side of the goal from the initial mixture. A "divide by zero" error will
occur if you try to add water to balance the C/N ratio .
The simultaneous solution for moisture and C/N ratios (goals as above) for a three ingredient mixture,
given the mass of the first material, is:
Note: A negative number indicates that a simultaneous solution for these goals is not possible
with the mixture of ingredients selected. Try some different ingredients, re-evaluate your goals,
or add a fourth ingredient using the formula below.
You can check these solutions by plugging the calculated masses into the table at the top of this spreadsheet.
Similarly, the simultaneous solution for moisture and C/N ratios (goals as above) for a four ingredient mixture,
given the mass of the first and second materials, is:
Note: A negative number indicates that a simultaneous solution for these goals is not
possible with the mixture of ingredients selected. Try some different ingredients, or
re-evaluate your goals.
Again, you can check these solutions by plugging the calculated masses into the table at the top of this spreadsheet.
Moisture and Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio Calculation Spreadsheet (updated March 2014)
Developed by Tom Richard, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Cornell University
The Homestead Laboratory
To use this spreadsheet, select your ingredients in cells A16 to A18 (up to four ingredients).
The spreadsheet then calculates the mixture moisture content and C/N ratio.
Alternatively, the spreadsheet will calculate the proper proportions for moisture and/or C/N goals (see below).
For further explanations of the formulas embedded in this worksheet, see the Science and Engineering section of the
http://www.cals.cornell.edu/dept/compost/
NOTE - do not copy and paste the existing data out of the table, as the formulas may remain tied to the old data.
Input areas are shaded blue or purple. Formula results are in red cells.
Mass (lbs.) Volume (gal)
7.00 #VALUE!
2.00 } Note: #VALUE!
13.50 } these masses are solved for in 1.87
9.98 } some of the equations below. 9.22
32.5
55.0 (masses as specified)
30.0 (masses as specified)
#VALUE! (gallons)
The required mass of the third material can be determined given characteristics, the masses of the first two, and goals:
(set these goals to match your requirements)
Calculated mass of third ingredient: Cattle manure
To achieve moisture goal: -5.50
To achieve C/N goal: -98.36
For these same moisture and C/N goals, the required mass of the fourth material can be determined given
Calculated mass of fourth ingredient: Newsprint
To achieve moisture goal: 9.9782149811
To achieve C/N goal: 9.98
Notes: negative numbers indicate that the characteristics of the added ingredient are not
on the opposite side of the goal from the initial mixture. A "divide by zero" error will
occur if you try to add water to balance the C/N ratio .
The simultaneous solution for moisture and C/N ratios (goals as above) for a three ingredient mixture,
Calculated mass of second ingredient: Seaweed
-36.83
Calculated mass of third ingredient: Cattle manure
-8.49
Note: A negative number indicates that a simultaneous solution for these goals is not possible
with the mixture of ingredients selected. Try some different ingredients, re-evaluate your goals,
or add a fourth ingredient using the formula below.
You can check these solutions by plugging the calculated masses into the table at the top of this spreadsheet.
Similarly, the simultaneous solution for moisture and C/N ratios (goals as above) for a four ingredient mixture,
Calculated mass of third ingredient: Cattle manure
13.50
Calculated mass of fourth ingredient: Newsprint
9.98
Note: A negative number indicates that a simultaneous solution for these goals is not
possible with the mixture of ingredients selected. Try some different ingredients, or
Again, you can check these solutions by plugging the calculated masses into the table at the top of this spreadsheet.
gal/yd
3
201.98
Optimizer Error #VALUE!
3.6
17
19
625
<---------Use Excel's Solver function to
minimize this cell by changing cells
E16:E19. Check multiple starting points to
avoid local minima.
Activated sludge
Apple filter cake
Apple pomace
Apple-processing sludge
Bark-hardwoods
Bark-softwoods
Blood wastes (slaughterhouse waste and dried blood)
Broiler litter
Cattle manure
Cocoa shells
Coffee grounds
Corn cobs
Corn silage
Corn stalks
Corrugated cardboard
cube Crab and lobster wastes
cylinder Cranberry filter cake with rice hulls
Cranberry plant (stems, leaves)
yes Dairy free stall manure
no Dairy tie stall manure
Digested sludge
Fish wastes (gurry, racks, and so on)
Fish-breading crumbs
Fish-processing sludge
Fruit wastes
Garbage (food waste)
Grass clippings, Compacted
Grass clippings, Loose
Hardwood (chips, shavings, and so on)
Hay-general
Hay-legume
Hay-non-legume
Horse-general manure
Horse-race track manure
Laying hens manure
Leaves, Compacted and moist
Leaves, Loose and dry
Lumbermill waste
Mussel wastes
Newsprint
Olive husks
Paper from domestic refuse
Paper mill sludge
Paper pulp
Paunch manure
Potato-processing sludge
Poultry carcasses
Rice hulls
Sawdust
Seaweed
Sheep manure
Shrimp wastes
Shrub trimmings
Softwood (chips, shavings, and so on)
Straw-general
Straw-oat
Straw-wheat
Swine manure
Telephone books
Tomato-processing waste
Tree trimmings
Turkey litter
Urine
Water
Blood wastes (slaughterhouse waste and dried blood)
% N C:N ratio
Type of (dry (weight
Material value weight) to weight)
Crop residues and fruit/vegetable-processing wastes
Apple filter cake Typical 1.2 13
Apple pomace Typical 1.1 48
Apple-processing sludge Typical 2.8 7
Cocoa shells Typical 2.3 22
Coffee grounds Typical 2.28 20
Corn cobs Range Range 0.4-0.8 56-123
Corn cobs Average 0.6 98
Corn stalks Typical 0.7 66.5
Cottonseed meal Typical 7.7 7
Cranberry filter cake Typical 2.8 31
Cranberry filter cake with rice hulls Typical 1.2 42
Cranberry plant (stems, leaves) Typical 0.9 61
Cull potatoes Typical - 18
Fruit wastes Range Range 0.9-2.6 20-49
Fruit wastes Average 1.4 40
Olive husks Typical 1.35 32.5
Potato-processing sludge Typical - 28
Potato tops Typical 1.5 25
Rice hulls Range Range 0-0.4 113-1120
Rice hulls Average 0.3 121
Soybean meal Typical 7.4 5.00
Tomato-processing waste Typical 4.5 11
Vegetable produce Typical 2.7 19
Vegetable wastes Typical 3.25 12.00
Blood wastes (slaughterhouse waste and dried blood) Typical 13.5 3.25
Crab and lobster wastes range Range 4.6-8.2 4.0-5.4
Crab and lobster wastes Average 6.1 4.9
Fish-breading crumbs Typical 2 28
Fish-processing sludge Typical 6.8 5.2
Fish wastes (gurry, racks, and so on) range Range 6.5-14.2 2.6-5.0
Fish wastes (gurry, racks, and so on) Average 10.6 3.6
Mixed slaughterhouse waste Typical 8.50 3.00
Mussel wastes Typical 3.6 2.2
Poultry carcasses Typical 2.4 5
Paunch manure Typical 1.8 25
Shrimp wastes Typical 9.5 3.4
Broiler litter range Range 1.6-3.9 12-15 a
Fish and meat processing
Manures
Broiler litter Average 2.7 14
Cattle range Range 1.5-4.2 11-30
Cattle manure Average 2.4 19
Dairy tie stall manure Typical 2.7 18
Dairy free stall manure Typical 3.7 13
Horse-general range Range 1.4-2.3 22-50
Horse-general manure Average 1.6 30
Horse-race track range Range 0.8-1.7 29-56
Horse-race track manure Average 1.2 41
Laying hens range Range 4-10 3-10
Laying hens manure Average 8 6
Sheep range Range 1.3-3.9 13-20
Sheep manure Average 2.7 16
Swine range Range 1.9-4.3 9-19
Swine manure Average 3.1 14
Turkey litter Average 2.6 16
Garbage (food waste) Typical 2.4 15
Night soil Typical 6 8.00
Paper from domestic refuse Typical 0.225 152.5
Pharmaceutical wastes Typical 2.6 19
Refuse (mixed food, paper, Typical 0.95 57
and so on)
Sewage sludge Range 2-6.9 5-16
Activated sludge Typical 5.6 6
Digested sludge Typical 1.9 16
Corn silage Typical 1.3 40.5
Hay-general range Range 0.7-3.6 15-32
Hay-general Average 2.1 23.5
Municipal wastes
Straw, hay, silage
Hay-legume range Range 1.8-3.6 15-19
Hay-legume Average 2.5 16
Hay-non-legume range Range 0.7-2.5 -
Hay-non-legume Average 1.3 32
Straw-general range Range 0.3-1.1 48-150
Straw-general Average 0.7 80
Straw-oat range Range 0.6-1.1 48-98
Straw-oat Average 0.9 60
Straw-wheat range Range 0.3-0.5 100-150
Straw-wheat Average 0.4 127
Bark-hardwoods range Range 0.10-0.41 116-436
Bark-hardwoods Average 0.241 223
Bark-softwoods range Range 0.04-0.39 131-1,285
Bark-softwoods Average 0.14 496
Corrugated cardboard Typical 0.1 563
Lumbermill waste Typical 0.13 170
Newsprint Typical 0.1 625
Paper fiber sludge Typical - 250
Paper mill sludge Typical 0.56 54
Paper pulp Typical 0.59 90
Sawdust range Range 0.06-0.8 200-750
Sawdust Average 0.24 442
Telephone books Typical 0.7 772
Wood chips Typical - -
Wood-hardwoods Range 0.06-0.11 451-819
Hardwood (chips, shavings, and so on) Average 0.09 560
Wood-softwoods Range 0.04-0.23 212-1,313
Softwood (chips, shavings, and so on) Average 0.09 641
Grass clippings range Range 2.0-6.0 9-25
Grass clippings Average 3.4 17
Grass clippings, Loose Typical 3.4 17
Grass clippings, Compacted Typical 3.4 17
Leaves range Range 0.5-1.3 40-80
Leaves Average 0.9 54
Leaves, Loose and dry Typical 0.9 54
Leaves, Compacted and moist Typical 0.9 54
Seaweed range Range 1.2-3.0 5-27
Seaweed Average 1.9 17
Yard wastes and other vegetation
Wood and paper
Shrub trimmings Typical 1 53
Tree trimmings Typical 3.1 16
Water hyacinth-fresh Typical - 25
Water Typical 0 0
Urine Typical 0.935 0.8
Moisture Bulk density Most data from http://compost.css.cornell.edu/OnFarmHandbook/apa.taba1.html
content % (pounds per
(wet weight) cubic yard)
60 1,197
88 1,559
59 1,411
8 798
75 - %N: http://www.sunset.com/garden/earth-friendly/starbucks-coffee-compost-test-00400000016986/; %Moisture: http://www.google.com/patents/US3823487
9-18 -
15 557
12 32
- -
50 1,021
71 1,298
61 -
78 1,540
62-88 -
80 -
9.00 -
75 1,570
- -
7-12 202
14 202
- -
62 -
87 1,585
- -
44.00 -
35-61 -
47 240
10 -
94 -
50-81 -
76 -
- -
63 -
65 -
82.5 1,460
78 -
22-46 756-1,026
Fish and meat processing
Manures
37 864
67-87 1,323-1,674
81 1,458
79 -
83 -
59-79 1,215-1,620
72 1,379
52-67 -
63 -
62-75 1,377-1,620
69 1,479
60-75 -
69 -
65-91 -
80 -
26 783
69 1585 *Bulk Density Assumed From Above
- -
19 -
- -
- -
72-84 1,075-1,750
78 -
78 -
66.5 -
8-10 -
9 -
Municipal wastes
Straw, hay, silage
- -
0 -
- -
0 -
4-27 58-378
12 227
- -
0 227
- -
0 227
- -
0 -
- -
0 -
8 259
0 -
5.50 218.5
66 1140
81 -
82 1403
19-65 350-450
39 410
6 250
- 532.5
- -
0 532.5
- -
0 532.5
- -
82 -
82 350
82 650
- -
38 -
15 200 Moisture: http://web.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/pdf_pubs/LEAFDISP.PDF
38 450
- -
53 -
Yard wastes and other vegetation
Wood and paper
15 429
70 1,296
93 405
100 1682.0
94.5 1722.3 http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/messages/messages/4/14.html?1136373979
Most data from http://compost.css.cornell.edu/OnFarmHandbook/apa.taba1.html
%N: http://www.sunset.com/garden/earth-friendly/starbucks-coffee-compost-test-00400000016986/; %Moisture: http://www.google.com/patents/US3823487
http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/messages/messages/4/14.html?1136373979