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WHAT IS COMPOST TEA?

Compost Tea is a water extraction of compost. The micro-organisms present in the compost is multiplied by adding selective nutritive substrata. As the number of microbes in the extraction increases, the levels of dissolved oxygen decrease and thus air is constantly bubbled through the system to keep the extraction aerobic.

Dissolved oxygen levels must be maintained above 6 ppm (6 mg of oxygen per liter). After 48 hours this brewing process is complete and the Compost Tea then consists of nutritive materials (organic compounds, micro and macro elements) and a wide variety of beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. Compost Tea’s efficiency depends on the quality of the compost, the system’s extraction efficacy and the ability of the added food to increase the organisms without sacrificing the biodiversity.

What happens inside this Compost Tea tank within 48 hours will astound the keen observer. Inside the Starter bag are billions of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and beneficial nematodes. The bacteria can replicate approximately every 30 minutes in ideal conditions. Consuming the food contained in the Activator, they multiply exponentially and release metabolic by-products and nutrients. Protozoa wake up and multiply, having feeding frenzies on the bacteria, releasing more metabolic by-products and nutrients. They stabilise the growth of the bacteria during the second day, consuming as many as are being reproduced.

Protozoa wake up and multiply, having feeding frenzies on the bacteria, releasing more metabolic by-products and nutrients. They stabilise the growth of the bacteria during the second day, consuming as many as are being reproduced.

They are extremely important for effective nutrient cycling to occur in soil. They consume bacteria and in the process release nutrients, especially nitrogen which other soil organisms and plants can utilise.

Fungi will germinate and grow on organic matter grouping them in clumps or flocs. In so doing, soil structuring is actually preceded inside the Compost Tea system. They too will release metabolic by-products and nutrients.

Free-living beneficial nematodes contained in the Starter will have no time to multiply but will consume certain bacteria, fungi, protozoa and other nematodes, thereby also releasing metabolic by-products and nutrients.

At the end of 48 hours the Compost Tea contains thousands of species of organisms numbering almost a billion per millilitre and all their by-products. These nutrients are in the form that plants want and require, because it is life giving and sustaining – as nature intended. It does not place the plant and the soil under undue stress, thereby opening them up to pests and diseases.

FARMERS PARTICIPATION

Compost Tea is not something that is bought off the shelf. It requires active farmer participation and energy. It is an aerobic product and cannot be stored without oxygen. It has to be made fresh two days prior to use. For this a Compost Tea System is required combined with the Starter and Activator which Ecosoil will deliver on a regular basis according to the farmer programme for creating a regenerative farm.

It requires the interested farmer to regard soil function as one of the primary concerns of his/her business – pivotal to farm profitability and resilience. Therefore, it requires the respect and attention due. Compost Tea is but a tool, albeit a very effective tool, to be used in conjunction with other tools in a holistic plan to make farms regenerative. It requires active and ongoing participation.

This requires a co-creative undertaking between the farmer, Ecosoil and nature. Nature knows best. By working with nature, instead of against her, this team will be able to restore soil function and lower fertiliser and pesticide use simultaneously. Individual circumstances and efforts will dictate the rate at which this happens.

Compost Tea Systems

We supply Compost Tea Systems for various size operations and application methods:

Gardeners and small-scale farmers:

40L, 200L and 1200L systems

Large-scale Commercial:

2 500L, 5 000L systems and mobile units for pivots

Treatment of dairy manure water:

Dairy manure water is anaerobic, notoriously foul smelling and inherently toxic to be used as is on fields. Manure dams are aerated with blowers and bubbler discs and inoculated with Compost Tea. 

This further compost the manure in the water and stabilises it into a nutrient dense liquid fertiliser that contains a huge diversity of aerobic and beneficial micro-organisms. This is a very good replacement for inorganic fertilisers.

Features of our Compost Tea Systems

  • Tanks designed to be fully aerobic – no dead zones.
  • Optimum growth potential – effective extraction of microbes from compost, water heated to 250°C, excellent oxygen diffusion, no shearing through pumps.
  • Easy cleaning – sieve that holds coarse material, tank can be drained completely, quick-couple fittings.
  • Modular – can be scaled for any size farm.
  • Purpose build – design adaptable to application method.
  • Multi-purpose – can also be used to dissolve fertiliser.

Compost Tea Ingredients – Starter and Activator

The Starter contains the microbial inoculant and is a propriety blend of various different kinds of composts that we manufacture ourselves. Ecosoil takes great care and attention when producing compost for Compost Tea purposes. Various compost recipes and microbial inoculants are used, some of which are personally collected in nature.

The various heaps are blended and sieved and the end product is called “Compost Tea Starter.”

The Activator is a combination of 8 different ingredients to multiply the organisms in the Compost Tea over a 48 hour period. The selection and amount of food additives were determined after stringent scientific testing to ascertain their effect on the multiplication on all microbial groups found in the Compost Tea (bacteria, fungi, protozoa and beneficial nematodes) without decreasing oxygen levels below 6 parts per million.

Ecosoil’s Starter, Activator and Compost Tea are certified according to European, American and Japanese organic standards.

Apex

Apex is a biostimulant that promotes root growth, feeds micro-organisms and buffers the negative qualities of synthetic fertiliser. It contains various organic acids, sugars and plant growth hormones.

Liquid Humates

  • Humic acid is a powerful fungal stimulant. Fungi enhances soil structure, resulting in better water and air holding capacity and increases root movement within the soil.
  • Microbes need a carbon source to digest nitrogen. Humates supply carbon and thus limit carbon stripping from the soil. It is very important that the humates are non-toxic and microbe friendly.
  • Humates stabilise nitrogen and improves nitrogen efficiency.
  • Humates complexes with phosphate to reduce lockups (ideal with DAP and MAP).
  • Increases the permeability of the cells thus increasing nutrient uptake by as much as 40%.
  • Has a pH buffering capacity, which will help neutralise the problems associated with pH extremes. Humates can also buffer the effects of excessive elements, especially sodium, toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

Programme for Creating a Regenerative Farm

Each farm is unique and requires a tailor made regenerative programme. Ecosoil works closely with growers, establishing medium and long-term goals that will address the following:

INITIAL ASSESSMENT

  • Soil health status – physical, biological and chemical
  • Fertiliser efficiency
  • Production quantity and quality

REGENERATIVE PLAN

  • Restoring microbial biodiversity with Compost Tea and cover crops
  • Redesign fertiliser programs to support soil health and reduce the harmful effects thereof
  • Address the root cause of pests and diseases
  • Eradicate fertiliser losses and pollution
  • Build stable soil carbon
  • Resilient crops that can withstand stress, disease, drought, frost and heat

OUTCOMES

  • Soil health status – physical, biological and chemical
  • Fertiliser efficiency
  • Production quantity and quality

Benefits of Soil and Foliar Compost Tea Applications

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