LEWISTON, Minn. — Utilizing a cutting-edge composting system to build soil health and fertility naturally will be the focus of a Land Stewardship Project (LSP) field day Friday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Dale and Carmene Pangrac-Kim and Andy Olson dairy farm near Lewiston (19300 Trestle Drive). This field day will offer information for both conventional and organic farmers, and a noon lunch will be available (free-will donations accepted). Registration starts at 9:30 am. For more information and to RSVP by Tuesday, Aug. 23, register online at https://bit.ly/3OZESHz or contact LSP’s Shona Snater at email@example.com.
Directions: Head west out of Lewiston on Highway 14 for about a mile and then take a right onto Holstein Road. Drive north for about 1.5 miles and then take a right onto Trestle Drive. The farm is one-third of a mile down the road.
This is a daylong event for farmers interested in learning how to develop a practical system for building good bugs in the soil. Soil microbiology experts David Johnson and Hui-Chun Su Johnson will share how they are using the Johnson-Su Bioreactor system to practically develop fungal-dense composts that can be applied as a beneficial inoculant to depleted soils. They will cover the construction, filling and management of the bioreactor and how this process creates a fungal-dominant, biologically diverse compost inoculant that can be used to jump start soil biology and increase crop production on any scale of farming operation.
Field day participants will also learn how local farmers are developing compost extracts and applying them to increase the soil’s ability to cycle nutrients, suppress weeds and reduce disease. The Pangracs and Olsons are working to rebuild the microbial populations in their pasture and organic row crop soils by using various “static” and “turned” composting methods. Growing beneficial soil microbiology is complex, and the farmers are willing to share their experiences using cutting edge composting set-ups, including the Johnson-Su Bioreactor system. Participants will get a closeup look at Johnson-Su Bioreactors, as well as a compost extractor and microbe applicator set-ups.
The Pangrac-Olson operation is one of five farms in the region participating in a Land Stewardship Project on-farm research project related to Johnson-Su Bioreactors. The project is being funded by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program.