Renewable Farming

Day 34: Combination of WakeUP, microbes, biostimulant promotes more rooting

Just over a month since planting, our 40 “test tube” root growing tests show that adding beneficial live microbes with in-furrow treatments, along with a biostimulant and WakeUP Spring, consistently leads to more vigorous rooting compared with no biological boosters.

May 2, 2018 — If you’re taking a few minutes off from corn planting, check out these photos of corn planted March 28 with an array of treatments over the seed, simulating in-furrow treatments. We’ll wash the roots out of these tubes soon and repeat the experiment with soybeans. But at each stage of growth, some kind of beneficial organism with the seed has generated a “bloom” of root growth. We’re also presuming that the profusion of thicker taproots and more abundant root hairs means a richer population of mycorrhizae, which can be seen only under a microscope.

For example, here are three 18-inch tubes with three treatments. Adding a live biological — in this case SP-1 from AgriEnergy Resources — clearly is associated with thicker and more profuse taproots and branching. 


We grew a dozen 24-inch-long tubes of corn inoculated with Biodyne USA’s “Environoc 401” and varied other products. The 401 formulation doesn’t contain mycorrhizal fungi, but has a range of beneficial bacteria known to unlock soil nutrients and therefore encourage naturally occurring mycorrhizae.

Also, we grew another dozen tubes with AgriEnergy’s SP-1 and a similar range of other products. When we compared root growth, height of top growth and chlorophyll content of leaves, both of these biologicals showed much the same response. Since SP-1 does contain mycorrhizae, we wish we had grown another dozen tubes with those products combined. Here is a representative pair of grow-outs with each “bio” product:



In another comparison, we allowed the soil in a couple of tubes to dry enough so we could crumble out the dirt from the roots to see how much soil would cling to roots. This is an indicator of the profusion of root hairs and mycorrhizae. Below, the roots of the corn plant at the top of the picture had only Vitazyme biostimulant. The corn at the bottom had Environoc 401, Vitazyme and WakeUP Spring. Total weight of roots and dirt in the roots treated with the microorganisms, plus biostimulant, plus WakeUP, is twice the comparison root/plant. This photo was taken 26 days after planting.


Total weight of corn plant and dirt treated in-furrow with Vitazyme only: 15.8 grams.
Total weight of plant treated with Environoc 401, Vitazyme and WakeUP Spring: 32.1 grams.

Below is a direct comparison of two biologicals, both enhanced with Vitazyme and WakeUP.  It would be useful to do this a dozen times and see if there’s any consistent difference. We only did this comparison twice — two with SP-1 and two with Environoc 401.

We split open the plastic tube and pulled it off, so there’s less glare from the plastic. The roots in both tubes were so intertwined and thick that we couldn’t crumble the dirt off the root mass. There may be a little more root mass in the SP-1 tube. The lower part of the 401 plant is somewhat greener, although the top half of the leaves checks out nearly identical in green color when read with the AtLeaf chlorophyll meter.

Today, a rep from another “bio” company brought us four other products with a request to check them out on soybean rooting and emergence. With some 300 biological products and hundreds of micronutrient mixes becoming available, we have no idea how an individual farmer can choose the best of the litter! One fact we do know:  WakeUP’s versatility as a surfactant, penetrant and biologically-friendly transporter almost always helps enhance performance of such products.

We’ll try to answer any last-minute questions that may help you this season. Feel free to phone or text from the tractor… turn it loose on GPS and contact us.