Compost Teas for Enhanced Nutrient Cycling

With increasing fertilizer and fuel costs, producers are increasingly keen to improve on-farm nutrient cycling through biologically intensive methods. Currently, poor plant-soil-microbe interactions do not support healthy nutrient flow, which limits crop yield and favors fertilizer-dependent farming. Slow residue breakdown also inhibits direct seeding adoption and adherence since heavy residue at seeding time impedes direct seeding and may inhibit seedling emergence. The use of compost teas might address all of these goals while increasing economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Our team will conduct on-farm interviews of growers who use compost tea to document current practices and grower observations. We will collect samples of farm-brewed teas and previously researched lab-brewed teas and characterize their chemical makeup and microbial communities. Lab studies will determine effects of teas on residue breakdown rate and nutrient availability, two producer driven goals. These data will position the team to pursue larger funds to conduct on-farm trials.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 216
  • Project Status: Ongoing


  • Principal Investigator(s): Carpenter-Boggs, L.
  • Investigator(s): Friesen, M., McFarland, C.
  • Grant Amount: $40,000
  • 2023 Progress Report (PDF)