Does Compost Tea Improve Pasture? Part 2

Compost tea is a liquid extract of compost produced by steeping finished compost in water in order to extract beneficial microorganisms and compounds. The theory is that we can add precisely what a soil is lacking with compost tea and it is supposed to be a speedy, cost-effective way of improving soil health and plant growth. To test this theory, Jim Tarnowski and group of farmers in Indiana ran a SARE supported study on their operations.  In the first article in this series, Jim described the process and that they saw no improvements from the compost tea treatment. Here's what Jim says about what the study revealed and his recommendations for others about using compost tea. Benefits of Doing the Study The soil food web analysis helped to validate our good soil practices and this was a benefit. Also, the observation of the earthworm counts, water infiltration rate, compaction testing, and other soil health tests were valuable for raising our awareness. The study reinforced that living plants in the soil at all times is very important. For some of us, we came full circle back to our original intuitions about soil and Mother Nature. Using our own native understandings of our soil and the ecology of the farms we inhabit we feel better equipped with knowledge and awareness to continue using good soil b

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One thought on “Does Compost Tea Improve Pasture? Part 2

  1. Interesting topic, and a well written article series!

    Is it possible that you already had the biodiversity in your soil? The conditions you create by proper management is of course crucial for encouraging the “good” soil organisms to grow and thrive, so what difference would a bit of dilluted compost really do if the little buggers was already there? But if you started out with a heavily degraded, bare and overtilled soil that hasn’t seen anything but NPK and fungicide for the last fifty years, then it surely would have done a difference, wouldn’t it ?

    Another possible explanation could be that the grazing animals have spread the bacteria and fungi to the untreated aerea during the course of your trial.

    It’s hard to come by research on this topic. Maybe Dr. Ingham would be interested in your work? I’ve heard her repeat in several lectures that its really hard to do research on these methods.

    Looking forward to your next article.


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