40 bu. more corn from three synergistic in-furrow products. Cost: $17 an acre

Gil Farley, president of the Indiana-based firm Biodyne Midwest, sent us combine monitor maps showing an array of eight corn yield results from in-furrow corn trials, which we summarized in the chart below.

Jan. 20, 2018 — Bottom line: Tank-mixing Biodyne's in-furrow biological, Environoc 401C, with WakeUP Spring and the biostimulant Vitazyme led to a 40-bu. gain over untreated corn on the same fields or adjoining fields with comparable soils. That was the average of three replications. Harvested samples ranged from two to 10 acres. We're attaching the yield monitor maps at the bottom of this research report.

Three of the test strips were treated only with Vitazyme and WakeUP Spring.  Vitazyme is a liquid biostimulant manufactured by Vital Earth Resources, Gladewater, Texas. Those three trials showed a 30-bu. gain over the untreated strips.

In three other field strips, addition of Environoc 401C to the Vitazyme/WakeUP combination provided the kicker which notched up yield response with another 10-bu. gain.

The north central Iowa farm generating these yields has been under excellent fertility management for years, including biological builders such as gypsum and chicken litter applications. Even during the dry July-August stress of the 2017 season, most fields were approaching the 200-bu. mark on corn yields.

In a season with tight crop budgets, synergism between yield enhancers is more critical than ever. Apparently, here's how these three in-furrow treatments enhance each other:

1. Environoc 401C at the rate of 16 ounces per acre inoculated emerging roots with an array of mycorrhiza and bacteria. The blend has been carefully tested many years by the originating firm in Florida. When mycorrhizal filaments colonize emerging roots, their profuse branching vastly expands the moisture-absorbing reach and mineral dissolving power of young corn root hairs. During the two to five leaf stage, healthy roots send signals to corn "encouraging" the stalk to set another pair of kernel rows. 

We've seen this biological benefit with other microbe blends. The granddaddy of those we know is AgriEnergy's SP-1, which we've reported on earlier and have used for years. Our field trials show that WakeUP Spring also enhances corn yield response from SP-1, a blend of bacterial and fungal organisms.

2. Vitazyme is a biostimulant which has been vigorously tested worldwide for more than 20 years. Vitazyme is highly refined from a proprietary fermentation process which produces gentle growth stimulators such as brassinosteroids, B-vitamins, triacontanol and several others. These metabolic triggers cause a cascading growth response in crop metabolism. That response includes ramping up nitrogen use efficiency.  Vitazyme's decades of corn field trials have shown that corn yield response with 132 units of applied nitrogen, plus 13 ounces of Vitazyme per acre, equals the yield from 234 units of applied nitrogen and no Vitazyme. A $6 rate of Vitazyme saved about $30 of nitrogen. 

3. WakeUP Spring in-furrow mobilizes Vitazyme into corn metabolism. It also mobilizes uptake of nutrient solutions dissolved by root hairs and the profusion of mycorrhiza multiplying from in-furrow Environoc 401C. Reminder: It's essential to use our fungal-friendly WakeUP Spring formulation. Not just any "surfactant" will work in-furrow; you need the unique colloidal micelle technology which bonds water and mineral nutrients, accelerating their uptake into roots. 

Renewable Farming LLC can provide you all three of these mutually beneficial yield enhancers. We've had 10 years of experience with our WakeUP formulations and four years of tracking Vitazyme. This is our first full season of offering Environoc 401C — which we were introduced to last fall by one of our farmer clients.

The grower who made these field tests tells us that the in-furrow mix he will apply in spring 2018 is precisely these three products, without any NPK starter in the solution. His usual in-furrow NPK application will be shifted later into a spring side-dressing trip with a high-clearance sprayer equipped with Y-drop attachments to place nutrients on both sides of the corn rows. Rates for these applications will be modified depending on spring N soil tests, crop leaf observations and tissue tests. Seasonal rainfall prospects will also play into his NPK rate decisions, with the objective of keeping corn green, healthy and growing vigorously, late into the filling season. He may also foliar feed, using WakeUP Summer to enhance yield response of foliars.

The power of soil biology is part of this paradigm shift. NPK analysis alone isn't 100% of the fertility story. Biological measures, including the Haney soil test of soil biological health, are the foundation of season-long fertility. If you'd like to see a dramatic moving closeup of the power of mycorrhiza, visit Netflix and search for the documentary video, "The Magic of Mushrooms." The camera captures real-time images of moisture and nutrients flowing through the mycelium filaments to feed plant roots. YouTube also has a wide array of animated descriptions of this symbiotic relationship. This link will bring up one example and several related videos.

Here are the combine monitor maps, analyzed by professional agronomist Larry Eekhoff, from which we extracted the data for the chart above. Eekhoff is founder of the consulting firm agronomyrx in Webster City, Iowa. These maps are paired to show differences between various combinations in rows near each other. The combine harvested 8-row strips.  As always, yield maps are dramatic for showing major yield variability even in fields with soil types that look uniform and show similar soil tests.