I always wondered why anyone would go to the trouble of making compost tea. Why not just use mulch? This makes sense, though.
I'd also never thought about the fact that some farmers might actually be addicted to the fertilizers they use.
it's not much trouble to make compost tea if you have compost, a 55 gallon drum (or 5 gallon bucket) and a bubbler...
the advantages over mulch being:
can be sprayed onto plant leaves (helps reduce fungal pathogens)
goes much further - a few lbs of compost make enough tea for a whole garden. a big plus when biomass is in short supply
penetrates into the root zone much more quickly, so good for stressed plants that need love NOW
can be tuned with organic fertilizers - add fish emulsion and kelp meal to the compost for a well rounded fertilizer
can be innoculated with specific microbes - ie, n-fixing bacteria, plant-specific mycorhizza
no weed seeds!
it's easier to apply liquid than cart around yards of bulky material
can be applied through drip irrigation - make sure to filter the tea well! otherwise the drips will get clogged
not a lot of macronutrients (compost tea is not really "fertilizer" unless fortified)
no weed suppression
doesn't build soil OM (organic matter) as quickly - or maybe at all. in fact, a soil with high OM but low biological activity might LOSE OM as the microbes break down the material.
still freakin heavy to carry around
needs to be used before it sours
this article begs the question: why dont they continue to use the chemical fertilizers, and supplement with compost tea? with the plan to gradually reduce chems and continue with the compost tea until the soil life is rebuilt and providing the healthy OM-rich environment that we all know grows the best plants. if going cold-turkey is too hard, maybe try the luke-warm turkey first, then cold turkey sandwiches.
off topic: what's up with this cold turkey? why does that mean cutting off an addiction?