While there are certainly naysayers to the idea of steeping compost, proponents argue the practice has incredible benefits in adding nutrients and biology to the land.
Rob Wunder, a Saskatchewan cattle producer, is one of those proponents and has experimented in the design and application of his own compost tea.
Inspired by various speakers and events that stressed the importance of improving soil biology, Wunder’s journey into compost tea brewing was through a collaboration of producers in the same area who had been doing it for a while, and who coached him along.
“Our little brewer that we built is actually on wheels, so you can pull it around to wherever,” says Wunder. “We’ll set it up somewhere by a power source and then we just need some water, we use paint strainer bags, and then we try to use compost from a few different sources…and then we also have vermicompost as well…just to add as much diversity to it as we can, just to try and get as much life, as many different things out there at one time.”
Wunder says the process he uses isn’t complicated — essentially just adding oxygen to water and a diverse source of composts.
“A tea you add more specific foods for what you’re trying to grow in your tea. So you may add lots of sugar to try to stimulate bacteria, or there’s different food sources that you can use to culture different brews.”
In application, Wunder has applied extract down the seed row, and has also floated it on with what he calls their “frankensprayer.”
“We’ve had some noticeable check strips over a few different years, and applying it differently.”
And while Wunder’s system may not be too complicated, he concedes that brewing compost tea is one more thing to manage, and it may not fit into everyone’s operation.