For 30 years I’ve encouraged Renewable Farming: a focus on biological products and cover crops to restore soil health, long-term yield gains and wider profit margins.
March 31, 2021 By Jerry Carlson I was enthused to see that Farm Journal’s March 29 e-mail, the Daily Scoop, featured an accurate overview of farmers’ successes with biological products and technologies. I encourage you to click on this link and read the entire report.
As a former Managing Editor of Farm Journal, I’ve long known those editors carry innovation in their DNA. The rise of potential “bio” product advertisers will accelerate their coverage, too. Gradually, a rising flow of editorial facts will gradually enlighten the 65% of farmers who’ve been unaware or skeptical of biological benefits.
Major companies are buying and researching their way into this technology. The Daily Scoop quotes Syngenta’s Cory Huck: “The biologicals market is set to double in size over the next five years. The increasing trend of sustainable agriculture in the global market, low residue levels and supportive regulations are the key factors driving the growth of the market.”
Until now, smaller firms with extensive experience have won niches in the bio market for agriculture. Example: Biodyne’s knowledge base is built primarily on 31 years of research and development by Dr. Fred Farley, founder of Biodyne Inc. in Sarasota, Florida. His nephew, Gilman Farley, multiplied Fred’s in-depth knowledge of microbial ecology to build products which recapture the carbon in crop residue, amplify nutrient uptake and make more atmospheric nitrogen available for crops.
Renewable Farming offers the line of biologicals from Gil’s firm, Biodyne USA based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Biodyne USA recently added a new production plant convenient to us at Fonda, Iowa.
The learning curve of finding and perfecting beneficial biological organisms is steeper and more complex than using routine NPK chemical formulas. At Renewable Farming, we’ve conducted field trials for a decade, and realize that measuring only first-year yield response to a microbial product is only one part of the management decision. The Daily Scoop story quotes Derik Martin, who farms 6,000 acres near Pulaski, Illinois with his father and brother: “We don’t ruin soil in a year, and we don’t fix it in a year.” The Martin family began experimenting with biologicals in 2013. Now the entire farm regularly gets some form of biological product.
Dedicated cover crop growers understand that covers are a cost-effective way to broaden and deepen healthy fungal and bacterial populations. Each cover crop species supports about 10 microbial species.
We’ve learned since 2008 that WakeUP makes foliar or in-furrow applications of biostimulants and live microbials more effective — by enhancing penetration and translocation through leaves and roots.
Currently, Renewable Farming offers biologicals and biostimulants from:
1. Vital Earth Resources (Vitazyme, a biostimulant). See a description of Vitazyme here. Also, see the company’s report revealing 2020 field test results with Vitazyme around the world. It’s compiled with a researcher friend, Dr. Paul Syltie.
2. AgriEnergy Solutions of Princeton, IL, which has a full line of biologicals along with regular fertility products. Agrienergy has also distributed WakeUP for several years. One of our favorites from AgriEnergy is SP-1, which consistently enhances yields and plant health.
3. Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies (BioEnsure and Biotango). We conducted several greenhouse tests on corn with these products and reported on them earlier. The company has been developing these fungal and bacterial endophytes — they live within the crop — for a decade. The organisms confer to the host plant more ability to endure stresses such as excess moisture or prolonged dryness.
4. Biodyne USA, which has a full line of residue digesters, root-building organisms, and more.
We’re also marketing products from a specialty fertilizer firm, Spraytec, which has corporate roots in Brazil. We monitor about 30 firms which build and market