‘Composting for Soil Microbiology’ Field Day Sept. 12 in Lewiston

LEWISTON, Minn. — Composting and soil biology will be the focus of a Land Stewardship Project field day on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Lewiston dairy farm of Dale and Carmene Pangrac and Kim and Andy Olson (19300 Trestle Drive). The field day will explore the soil microbial universe and participants will learn how to grow and apply beneficial microbes to fields in order to increase the soil’s ability to cycle nutrients, suppress weeds and reduce disease. Field day information will be for both conventional and organic farmers, and a noon lunch will be available (free-will donations requested). Registration starts at 10 a.m. For more information and to RSVP by Tuesday, Sept. 10, contact LSP’s Shona Snater at 507-523-3366 or ssnater@landstewardshipproject.org.

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 1/3 of a mile down the road.

The Pangracs and Olsons are working to rebuild the microbial populations in their pasture and row crop soils by using different composting methods. Growing beneficial soil microbiology is complex, and the Pangracs are willing to share information on their composting setup and what they have learned so far. Highlights of the field day will include looking at a Johnson-Su Bioreactor setup and compost tea brewer and extractors, as well as visiting field sites and viewing soil microbes under the microscope.

Farmer Clifford Johnson of Paynesville, Minn., will also be present at the field day to discuss his many years of composting, compost tea brewing and extracting, as well as how to best apply microbes to crops. Johnson will share the benefits he has seen over the years of utilizing these practices.

“Just because you have built the house using soil health practices for microbes, doesn’t mean the microbes are there,” Johnson said. “We need to be intentional about growing, applying, and maintaining soil microbial populations in our fields.”