Nitrogen 101?

Our county offers compost. ($20 for 6 yards.) They've had it analyzed, https://ocrra.org/app/webroot/img/gallery/File/downloads/aboutocrra/reports/compost/compost-test-2014-amboy-jamesville-q2-071414.pdf
The reported nitrogen value seems quite high (2% by dry weight). However, our retail soil tester, says the N is quite low. Possibilities I can imagine: (a) "organic nitrogen" is not really available, and we should add something that is. Or, (b) Our soil tester is just looking for ammonium, and misses the "organic"
If anyone knows more about this, I'd appreciate hearing.
G
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote: ...

most compost is not particularly high in nitrogen. over the longer term it is a very slow release fertilizer, but mostly it is just for soil improvement (to add organic matter, to improve water holding, to help heavy soils break apart easier improving water infiltration, etc).
inspect it visually before bringing it in. some composting places don't remove trash from their system and then it all gets ground up and sent back out as little pieces of trash. looks rather horrible in the gardens after a while...
songbird
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Measuring nitrogen is one of the most problematic aspects of soil nutrition because N comes in many different forms. Several of them are volatile so that the concentration can change over time due to gas escaping. All are soluble so N is leached out quite quickly unless the compounds are bound to some substrate, so do not assume that having your N in a very available form is necessarily better. These factors can change with pH and moisture content. This compost has probably been limed to bring the pH to 7.4 Another complication is the compounds present may not be the ones that are nominally measured for reporting by the lab.
Don't worry about it too much. If it is good compost and cheap then use it and feed up gross N feeders with chicken manure as required.
--
David

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