Renewable Farming

Another example of the power of capturing CO2 to empower yields and build soil life

Today’s “GroundWork” message from AgriEnergy Resources displays colorful evidence of organic matter gains from “going biological” with your crop nutrient program. You can dig up the proof with your spade — see it with your eyes and smell it with your nose.

August 25, 2017 — The photo below came from somewhat lighter loam soils from Pennsylvania, which show shades of gain in carbon content more clearly than dark, heavy soils. The AgriEnergy report offers a quick explanation. Here it is, as sent out today:

These last few weeks of summer are a good time to visit test plots, go to field days, and read up on industry practices. It is a great time to meet new people and learn new things. Recently, while at a field day in Northern Michigan we listened to Biologist Jim Marshall speak on soil health. He reminded us of how a plant works.

As plant roots grow down, the tip of the root (or the root cap) pushes into the soil scraping along the soil aggregate. While pushing down, it exudes complex sugars and complex carbohydrates in front of it which lubricates the root. Jim says this lubricant “is like maple syrup is for us on pancakes, it is the awesome stuff.” This lubricant attracts the biology in the soil. When the biology moves in close to the roots to feed, they are also holding the soil together giving the soil structure and making nutrients available. Take these corn root masses for example. 

While at a root dig in Pennsylvania, our SP-1™ was evident. Notice how the check soil is hard and chunky creating a difficult rhizosphere for the roots to establish themselves, versus the treated soil that is softer and nimbler making it easier for the root tips to get established. SP-1™ works with soil biology to produce a more active, healthy, and profitable rhizosphere.

Darker shade shows up clearly in biologically treated crops

Not only are the roots working below the soil, but the plant above the soil is working hard as well to supply “the awesome stuff” down to the roots. The most current A&L Labs Canada Tech Bulletin reminds us that the plant returns 40-60% of the photosynthates that it produces to the rhizosphere. This is a tremendous amount of energy that goes to feeding the organisms in the rhizosphere and culturing the soil biome.  

When we feed the soil or feed the plant, we’re actually feeding the microbes. The soil and the plant work together to produce a crop. 

As we are at field days, trade shows, or just walking our fields, let’s keep in mind that it’s our soil and what we do to it that will determine how successful we are. We have the products you need to make sure your soil and plants are performing at their best. Contact your AgriEnergy rep to put together a program for your area! 815.872.1190


We have AgriEnergy’s soil-building biologicals available to our clients. That includes SP-1, Residuce and several others.  Right now we encourage you to plan for the earliest possible post-harvest soil application of Residuce, laced with organisms eager to digest the tough cellulose and lignin in your crop residue. Over many years, users of AgriEnergy’s Residuce have overcome the time pressure of fall harvest which typically precludes “following the combine” with Residuce spraying plus stalk shredding or light vertical tillage to speed digestion.  They hire extra help to run the sprayer, shredder or other tools separate from the harvest crew, capturing the early and warmer days to jump-start crop carbon conversion.

Here’s a link to an article we published earlier, showing how Ohio grower Jim Mitchell gets the fall Residuce job done, with positive yield and financial results.

Also today, one of our central Iowa WakeUP clients told us that a co-op agronomist had just shown him some “amazingly green” cornfields in western Iowa’s most parched localities, such as Pocahontas County. It was continuous corn and green-leaved top to bottom. Ten feet tall versus about seven feet for neighboring fields. The agronomist attributed the major difference to a fall 2016 application of a residue digestion blend of microbes. The fungal/bacterial combination had converted much of the 2016 corn stover into rain-sponging active humus and glomalin, which helps build a crumb structure in the soil that allows water microfilms around soil particles.

This is the first time we’ve heard about such a contrast with only one year of residue digestion treatment. usually it takes a persistent program over several years to build up active humus content and deepen the soil aerobic zone.  We’re pursuing the agronomic facts on this one, and will report more details when available.

Update August 30, 2017:  Here’s a link to the personal Facebook page of Mike Williams, sales agronomist for Gold Eagle Co-op in west central Iowa.  When his page opens, scroll down to the videos where he’s showing ground-level images plus a narrative of two cornfields in a dry area of Pocahontas County. One is tired and fired, the other bright green top to bottom.  The difference is a microbial treatment — One application of a residue digester last fall plus a seed treatment this spring.  Mike is rounding up drone photos and we’ll post a separate report when those photos are in hand.