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Manufacturers and distributors of specialist equipment for the agricultural, environmental and building industries.

Uses and Benefits of Compost Tea

– customer experiences with Growing Solutions Compost Tea Systems

Turf Care

Compost Tea users have reduced fungicide use on sports turf by up to 100% and experienced less turf disease. The beneficial organisms and micronutrients in Compost Tea can also assist weed control, improve root penetration without promoting top growth and lower the maintenance costs of worn sports turf.

Greenkeepers and groundsmen are using alternatives to traditional chemicals as costs rise and environmental regulations change. Local authorities in San Francisco and New York in the USA have banned the use of pesticides on playing fields. Compost Tea is being used instead, with the benefit of improved recovery time of sports turf after heavy use.

Compost Tea is applied, using a 2000 litre Compost Tea System, throughout the training complex at Real Madrid Football Club

Compost Tea is applied, using a 2000 litre Compost Tea System, throughout the training complex at Real Madrid Football Club

Compost Tea trial site at Oakham school (left) - where Compost Tea was used, fertiliser costs were cut by around 75%

Compost Tea trial site at Oakham school (left) – where Compost Tea was used, fertiliser costs were cut by around 75%

“Using Compost Tea as part of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly turf care regime has been very successful in restoring the health of the grass and soil.

Compost Tea is very safe to make and use, and I believe we are improving quality far quicker than we would by any alternative method. In addition, we have almost totally eliminated Poa annua (annual grass meadow) and all the pitches look much better”, commented Richard Dexter, Head Groundsman at Oakham School.

Agriculture

Compost Tea is used in conventional and organic agricultural production all over the world. Healthy crops grown with Compost Tea are less susceptible to disease;

  • Compost Tea is used as a means of low-cost growth stimulation and to build a sustainable soil structure. An added benefit has been improved tolerance to drought and reduced irrigation.
  • As costs increase there is considerable interest in using Compost Tea to reduce fertiliser and agrochemical use.

WHEAT

Wheat - yield was 25% higher where Compost Tea was appliedYield of wheat from a trial plot was 25% higher where Compost Tea was used (image shows wheat on the left where Compost Tea has not been applied and wheat on the right where Compost Tea has been applied).

Despite the drought conditions, the plants sprayed with Compost Tea had longer roots and higher root mass, allowing the plants to access moisture lower down in the soil.

 

OIL SEED RAPE

Oil Seed Rape - yield was 27% higher where Compost Tea was applied

 

Oil seed rape yield increased by 27% where Compost Tea was used in trials during another drought year. There was a clear difference in leaf size, root length and root mass between plants grown in the conventional strip and those grown where Compost Tea was used.

 

 

LINSEED

Linseed - yield increased by 77% where Compost Tea was used

 

Compost Tea boosted linseed growth, resulting in a yield increase of 77%. In adjacent one hectare trial strips a typical linseed yield of 1.4 t/ha increased to 2.4 t/ha. The linseed also produced around two and a half times the amount of straw where Compost Tea had been used.

 

 

TOMATOES

Difficult varieties to grow are now stronger and have wider stems and bigger and better fruit since switching to Compost Tea

 

Almeria, Spain has 28,000 hectares under plastic growing mainly tomatoes. The tomatoes are essentially grown hydroponically and Compost Tea is included in the process. Growers recorded the following improvements:

 

 

  • Conductivity level (EC) 1300
  • Produce 14-15 kilos of tomatoes per square metre of cherry tomatoes
  • Shelf life appears to be better
  • Immediate effect on the look and health of the plants
  • Higher brix number
  • 15% reduction in fertilisers
  • Greener and thicker vine stems
  • Difficult varieties to grow are now stronger and have wider stems and bigger and better fruit
  • Almeria has some of the strictest controls of chemical use and this area is producing some of the cleanest crops
  • All growers say they are collecting more fruit than before on previous regimes

Tomato trials in South Africa - Compost Tea helps control Mildew and improve overall health of tomato plants

Severe deficiencies to the leaves where chemical fertiliser was usedIn South Africa, the yield of tomatoes grown using only chemical fertilisers was compared with Compost Tea and organic addictives without the use of fertilisers.

Where chemical fertiliser was applied, the tomato plants suffered a severe attack of Mildew and White Fly. Where Compost Tea was applied, the plant health was much better as the Compost Tea increased the ‘natural protection’ against White Fly and Mildew. The yields from both plots were similar, but the brix was higher, and the trusses were better formed with hardly any disease where only Compost Tea was applied.

TROPICS

Control of Mealy Bugs on ornamental Palms achieved solely with Compost Tea

 

Mealy Bugs were identified as a severe problem on ornamental Palms in Hawaii. The problem was identified as an issue in November and Compost Tea was applied as a drench, only organic landscaping was permitted. In total, four applications were applied and by January, the Mealy Bug infestation was no longer an issue.

 

 

Oil Palm seedling with well developed root system

 

 

Compost Tea has also been applied as foliar applications at a sustainable Oil Palm seedling production system in Malaysia. Compost Tea has provided natural growth stimulants as well as natural plant protection. Although no trials have yet been conducted, the addition of Compost Tea will shorten the time required to grow seedling to the transplant stage. With hydroponic lettuce growing the time required to reach harvesting from transplant stage has been reduced from 35 days to 22 days by using Compost Tea.

 

 

COFFEE

Improved coffee seedling using Compost TeaGuatemalan coffee plantations using the 2000 litre Growing Solutions Compost Tea System experienced many improvements including:Coffee cherry and bean size increased where Compost Tea was applied

  • 40% yield increase
  • 54% decrease in fertiliser use, annual saving of $512 per acre
  • Coffee cherries increased in count and size
  • Coffee beans also increased in size
  • Significantly less incidence and severity of rust disease
  • Improved coffee tree seedlings – increased growth rate, root mass, branching, uniformity and survival rate of new coffee plants

LIVESTOCK/GRASS

Compost Tea improves the plant and root zone of grassland which has a long term benefit on dairy cows and their milk productionCompost Tea delivers a large amount of active micro-organisms to the plant and root zone. This vast microbial network plays an essential role in nutrient cycling, reducing the need for additional fertiliser inputs.

Dairy cows that feed from healthy grassland benefit from improved forage quality (18% increase recorded at a Guatamalan dairy operation), resulting in increased milk production and protein content.

Horticulture

Millais Nurseries report excellent results using Compost Tea on their award-winning RhododendronsAs fungicide and fertilizer costs increase, Compost Tea offers an economical alternative in quality plant production. As part of existing application programmes it can reduce the amount of artificial fertiliser and fungicides required. Applied to leaves, the beneficial micro-organisms colonise plant surfaces, prevent disease-causing organisms from gaining a foothold and leave the plants looking healthy.

 

Prize-winning Rhododendron growers, Millais Nurseries, report excellent results – “We have been delighted with the results of using Compost Tea. The Growing Solutions system has proven to be economical, quick to use, easy to apply and clean up. Our plants are looking better than ever – darker green foliage and typically clean of all diseases”.

Landscaping

Compost Tea use in the landscaping industry is one of the fastest growing areas of useOrnamentals and trees in greenhouse production, container stock or field planting all benefit greatly from Compost Tea, with users commenting that the plants have a ‘compost tea glow’.

James Coles nurseries use Compost Tea to reduce sprays and gain a marketing advantage

James Coles Nurseries use Compost Tea to reduce sprays and gain a marketing advantage

James Coles Nurseries in Leicestershire, wholesale producers of container-grown trees and plants, have reduced their fertiliser rates by more than 30% and improved environmental conditions without compromising plant performance and vitality.

“Compost Tea provides a real tonic to the plants and helps protect against fungal, bacterial and disease problems like leaf scab and downy mildew. We have reduced spray usage because the plants seemed more vigorous and stayed cleaner.

The fact that our plants are being produced with less chemicals is a useful marketing advantage when selling into the amenity, landscaping and garden centre trades”.

Click HERE to view video of Compost Tea being applied with a low pressure rotating disc sprayer to container-grown plants.

Viniculture

The use of Compost Tea in commercial wine making is gaining momentum in many countriesThe use of Compost Tea in commercial wine making is gaining momentum in many countries, including the USA, Taiwan, Italy and the UK, where producers are using it as an alternative to standard chemicals.

Compost Tea application using a low pressure rotating disc sprayerCompost Tea users have experienced reduced incidence of powdery mildew and botrytis and increased vine and soil health, resulting in improved fruit quality. The effects have been especially successful where the Compost Tea solution was blown into the vine canopy using a low pressure rotating disc sprayer. Click HERE to see the video of the sprayer in use.

Trial Vines receiving Compost Tea only in South AfricaCompost Tea also promoted vigorous growth of newly planted vines in trials conducted in Cape Town, South Africa. The trials concluded that applying Compost Tea not only applies organic compounds but also a wide diversity of micro-organisms to the soil surrounding the vine roots.

This increased microbial activity on the soil, quickly converting any plant nutrients held in the soil into suitable forms which can easily be taken up by the developing vine root systems.

For more information on the uses and benefits of compost tea,
download the brochure

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The Compost Tea System 10 is ideal for gardens, small nurseries and research centres