Renewable Farming

Biological farming pioneer stresses four key nutrients for profitable yields

Gary Zimmer is a dairy nutritionist who started the consulting firm Midwest Bio-Ag in southwest Wisconsin some 35 years ago. He pours out vital crop nutrition ideas at 350 words a minute, with gusts up to 400. Over three decades, he earned the label as a “father of biological farming.”

April 22, 2020  By Jerry Carlson — Gary is one of the few surviving veteran speakers at the early Renewable Farming seminars I conducted. His advice is even more valuable today, when farmers are squeezing the most yield and quality out of every dollar spent. 

Gary Zimmer

This link takes you to the No-Till Insider website. In less than three minutes, Gary sums up why calcium, phosphorus, boron and magnesium are  vital for a health-giving and high-yielding crop. Like Dr. Dan Skow before him, Gary learned from his dairy nutrition consulting that it’s crop nutrient quality that makes healthy cows and lots of milk.  Enjoy the show!

We know that boron is often deficient in Midwest soils. And we know that a soil test of phosphorus is meaningful only if there’s abundant mycorrhiza and other soil organisms to make it soluble for plant uptake. Calcium remains the “king of nutrients,” but it’s often unavailable; that’s why Gary sometimes encourages banding highly soluble calcium. Magnesium may look abundant in a soil test, but it’s not always fully available. Thus, foliar feeding of boron and magnesium can help keep crops growing and healthy for the full season. That’s where WakeUP comes in — to get those nutrients into crops. We’ve even used WakeUP to amplify absorption of foliar-applied micronized calcium. The calcium rose sharply in tissue tests after the WakeUP/calcium spray — and surprisingly, so did other nutrients.

Gary Zimmer’s brief video chat is another example of the sound information which publisher Frank Lessiter packs into his No-Till Farmer magazine and and his online media services. Ten years ago, Lessiter published a controversial story, “Are we shooting ourselves in the foot with a silver bullet?” It was an exposé of the longterm downsides of glyphosate, including weed resistance and toxic buildup. Lessiter later told me, “We got a lot of pushback on that story.” But history proves his story was correct.