Renewable Farming

As we start our 10th year with WakeUP, former clients are returning

Cheap grain is encouraging farmers to include only the safe, reliable yield enhancers in 2018 crop budgets. Farmers who used WakeUP several years ago are calling us to check our WakeUP price for 2018. 

An Ohio farmer who bought several totes of WakeUP a few years ago says, “The past three or four seasons, I was coaxed into trying new products salesmen claimed ‘better than WakeUP.’ None of them gave consistent yield results. But I remember: WakeUP always worked.”

Some of our earliest farmer clients foliar-applied WakeUP almost 10 years ago. The old formulation was then labeled for foliar use at 10 ounces per acre and sold for $150 a gallon. Now it’s labeled for 5 ounces per acre and only $85 per gallon. (Pre-season price until March 1, then $90). Per-acre WakeUP cost then: $15, or 3.5 bu. of corn. Now it’s $3.32, or about 1 bu. of corn. 

Like you, we’re gotten more efficient. Learning to operate on tighter margins. But our growth also arises from new uses for WakeUP we’ve discovered since 2008. 

We started with the idea that WakeUP’s primary use was foliar application — by itself — on corn at the two-leaf stage. That does generate more massive roots and leads to 5 to 10 bu. more yield. But the brief two-leaf stage offered a tight window of application time. Gradually, we conducted hundreds of field trials over the years and learned many new uses.

We developed two unique formulations and branded them WakeUP Spring and WakeUP Summer. In our minds, WakeUP became the “WD-40 for crops.”  Some of the main moneymakers:

1. Using WakeUP to amplify yield benefits of foliar nutrients. One of the first to show us WakeUP results in 2010 was southwest Iowa farmer Dale Lenz, who was raising 212-bu. corn with WakeUP. He has continued to include WakeUP in his crop program. In that year we also found that WakeUP enhances performance of trace elements when foliar-applied on soybeans — especially when sprayed on soybeans treated with glyphosate. The traces, mobilized with WakeUP, help offset the mineral-chelating impact of glyphosate. Since then we have conducted hundreds of field trials, testing for synergism between WakeUP and foliar products.

A Nebraska farmer showed us how WakeUP
enhances in-furrow applications.

2. Mixing WakeUP Spring with in-furrow nutrients and biologicals. A Nebraska farmer, Arlynn Aldinger, discovered this in 2011. He documented the yield enhancement WakeUP provided when he tank-mixed in-furrow nutrients and biologicals with WakeUP. Yield response varied with the rate of WakeUP used. Three ounces of WakeUP Spring per acre appeared the most cost-effective, and that’s what we’ve recommended for in-furrow use since 2011. Arlynn used an early version of what we now formulate as WakeUP Spring. We’ve learned that it apparently enhances root absorption of nutrients, just as foliar-applied WakeUP enhances leaf absorption of nutrients. The big difference: We recommend only the Spring formulation for in-furrow. Microbiology lab tests indicate that WakeUP Spring is friendly to beneficial mycorrhiza and other soil-applied or seed-applied inoculants.

3. WakeUP Spring sprayed at V2 enhances roots and the rhizosphere. One of our earliest experiments: Growing corn and other crops in a “terrarium.” We built a 24-foot wood-paneled box 14 inches across and four feet deep, and filled it with soil. Purpose: At crop maturity, we could peel off one side and wash away the soil to expose roots for a clear understanding of root development. This was our classic experiment with Spring as a root enhancer. 

The result showed deeper, more vigorous rooting and a much bigger “bloom” of mycelium and mycorrhiza surrounding the roots. Much of this deeper root structure is visually lost when stalks are dug in the field, but the differences with and without WakeUP Spring  are still very clear-cut in the root ball near the surface. The yield benefit is consistent, and the benefits are greatest in seasons with dry-weather stress. Fungal hyphae are nurtured by extra sugars exuded from roots. WakeUP Spring mobilizes internal sap flow through the phloem system. That enhances the proliferation of friendly soil fungi. The massive mycorrhizal network extracts moisture from the thinnest water films around soil particles and carries it to the roots, even in dry periods when the roots alone can’t extract much moisture. Also, acids secreted by fungal networks exert at least 10 times more nutrient- dissolving power than the weak acids of root hairs alone. Thus, WakeUP Spring amplifies the natural, symbiotic relationship between roots and the surrounding microorganisms. Here’s our first photo of that experiment:

One wall of our terrarium was pulled off the frame, and roots were washed to expose the difference
between those sprayed at the two-leaf stage with WakeUP versus untreated.

A few years later, Illinois professional agronomist Jim Porterfield further documented that two days after spraying corn at the 4-leaf stage with WakeUP Spring, the increased flow of sugars to roots almost doubles the roots’ brix level, or sugar and dissolved nutrient content.

Porterfield sprayed the young corn with a light rate of 28% nitrogen, SEA-90 (an ocean water product), and WakeUP Spring. The root brix, or sugar level, was only 3.08 in untreated roots, it was 6.27 in the treated corn. This signals a surge in translocation of sugars and other nutrients like amino acids to the roots. This is fuel for beneficial mycorrhizae.  We urge farmers to make such a root-building application at the two-leaf stage, because the growth stages immediately following are critical to determining the number of kernel rows and other “decisions” that corn is making early in the season. 

The chart also shows that brix level of leaves is about the same in treated vs. untreated corn. Brix level in stems was slightly lower in the treated corn. These are two useful signals, indicating that sugars are moving out of the leaves and through the phloem system well when treated with WakeUP. We don’t want sugars “piled up” in the leaves of crops which make grain or fruit. We want sugars to go into the destination where they’ll do the most good. If sugars back up in leaves, such as during a bright, sunny day, photosynthesis slows down because the “factory floor” is stacked up.

Spraying corn at V2 is still one of the beneficial uses of WakeUP Spring — but we’ve found it’s a spray pass that’s tough for farmers to “make happen.” Often, soybean planting pressure is underway as corn is emerging; the ideal spray window is only a week or 10 days, and it’s too early to piggyback the Spring application with postmerge herbicide spraying. Beyond that, farmers often say there’s just not much vegetation to spray, so they’re hesitant to do the job. If a farmer has a sprayer with nozzles every 15 inches, we suggest plugging the nozzles between rows, spraying directly over 30-inch corn row at V2.  That cuts WakeUP rate per acre in half, using just 2.5 ounces per acre for only $1.75 per acre. This is also a good time to piggyback a little biostimulant like Vitazyme, or a biological such as AgriEnergy’s SP-1.

4. WakeUP improves contact herbicide effectiveness. Farmers tell us that’s what they’re seeing in the field. However, we don’t pose as herbicide consultants. The elixirs that farmers blend up baffles even the most experienced weed scientists. But years ago, Southern farmers showed us they could make the most widely used herbicide more effective on “resistant” weeds like palmer amaranth.

What we do know is that WakeUP effectively does three jobs in foliar sprays:

Surfactant. Five ounces of WakeUP Summer in 15 to 20 gallons of spray solution will “clear-coat” crop leaves. No droplets beading up on the leaves. Virtually no runoff. 

Absorption aid. Unlike ordinary surfactants built from crop oils or phosphates, WakeUP Summer reacts with the waxy leaf cuticle, softening and lifting it long enough for the foliar nutrient payload to penetrate immediately into leaf metabolism. Unlike adjuvants made with polymers which stick spray materials on the leaf surface longer, WakeUP transports the effective ingredients into the leaf palisade cells and phloem circulation.

Translocation aid. Once mingled with plant sap, WakeUP Summer’s colloidal micelles help make the sap easier to pump through the crop’s tiny phloem tubes, sieve tubes and even the microtubules.

We first observed these actions on a misty morning in 2009. We asked a neighbor if we could spray WakeUP on his soybeans. Rains had kept him from spraying the grass that field with his big sprayer. But we could get through the half-mile rows with a light tractor and 60-foot pull-type sprayer. The dew was heavy and a rain was predicted hours away but we sprayed anyway. The photo below documents that less than a half-hour after spraying with WakeUP and 20 gallons of water per acre, soybean leaves looked and felt dry. Unsprayed leaves alongside the spray strip remained dew-covered. The dew and added spray water hadn’t evaporated. It had absorbed into the leaves because WakeUP carried it in.

Almost 10 years ago, we first noticed the power of WakeUP for speeding nutrients and other spray materials into leaves


5. By 2013, we had learned that foliar feeding during the growing season could help remediate serious mineral deficiencies. We rented an adjoining farm, which had a serious potassium deficiency in many locations. Yellow soybeans showed up early in the season. We began spraying alternating 6-row strips with liquid potassium sulfate from AgriEnergy Resources, Princeton, Illinois. The first spray also contained a gallon per acre of Kugler 2075 fertilizer and two pounds per acre of dextrose. All mobilized with 5 ounces per acre of WakeUP, in 20 gallons per acre of water. Improvement showed up within two weeks. The results are highly visual:

Foliar feeding helped overcome a dramatic potassium deficiency in the soil.
Green strips were treated with WakeUP Summer and nutrients.
Yield results confirmed the benefit of foliar feeding. Every treated strip outyielded its adjoining untreated strip. The chart summarizes an average 8 bu. per acre yield benefit for the foliar feeding.  We should note that this was a very difficult season overall, with wet weather in the spring and a dry summer. All on  soil that was nutrient deficit. So… bean yields overall weren’t very spectacular on this patch.
6. With WakeUP Summer in the spray tank, you can reduce spray drift and volatilization by using a larger droplet size and lower pressure. In the past, sprayer operators tried to achieve uniform leaf coverage by finer droplets, higher pressures, and mingling air with the spray stream. WakeUP Summer has a colloidal micelle technology which drops surface tension sharply so spray droplets spread into a thin sheet across leaves. Even in fuzzy leaves, like soybeans. Just 20 or 30 droplets on a leaf surface can clear-coat a leaf with a clear gloss of spray material which sponges into the leaf in less than a minute. Here’s a series of three photos showing a large droplet squeezed from a hypodermic syringe onto a tomato leaf. The droplet spreads across the leaf and appears to dry.
Just one drop is released on this leaf, squeezed from a little syringe.
This is WakeUP Summer and a fertilizer mix.
The drop spreads uniformly across the leaf,
forming a thin film. The WakeUP solution softens and
“opens up” the waxy protective coating, allowing spray solutions
to penetrate quickly.
This photo was taken 30 seconds after the previous one.
The spray has sponged into the leaf, which looks almost
totally dry where the spray material had covered it previously.
Check back to this report occasionally; we’re adding more data as we dig it out!