Comparing Compost Tea and Compost Extract Impact on Microbiology

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2022: $26,159.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Minnesota Soil Health Coalition
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Mark Gutierrez
Minnesota Soil Health Coalition


  • Agronomic: corn, hemp, soybeans


  • Crop Production: cover crops, cropping systems, foliar feeding, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Soil Management: composting

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will measure and compare the soil health changes from the use of compost extract and compost tea in a soil health system.  One of the advantages to a soil health system is that as the soil biology improves and organic matter is rebuilt this can lead to a reduction of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers needed which can increase a farmer’s profit per acre.  There are a lot of products on the market that will help stimulate and feed the microbiology in soil.  Many of these products promise improvements to the crop.  If a farmer reduces synthetics as a result of their soil health system, but then trades one dependency for another by purchasing commercial biology stimulators, profit per acre is impacted which can reduce the incentive for a soil health system. 

    This research will demonstrate that a compost extract or a compost tea is effective in stimulating the biology in the soil and it is a product farmers can create and manage on their farm at a low cost.  This project will target Minnesota crop farmers and demonstrate a low cost solution to improving soil biology.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Measure and compare soil health changes from 24 hour compost tea in different crop systems (regeneratively farmed hemp, corn, alfalfa, and conventional corn)
    • Measure and compare soil health changes from compost extract
    • Educate about the construction, costs and benefits of homemade compost tea and compost extract
    • Empower farmers to produce their own soil biology stimulants
    • Educate farmers with practical tools to positively transform the environment and local food production using soil science and regenerative agriculture
    • Share results with other farmers through our member newsletter, website, YouTube and a field day
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.