Renewable Farming

Here’s how corn responds to a full package of early biologicals and nutrients

Freshly emerged corn on the left side of the nearby photo came from a test row which had no nutrient or biological supports applied with the planter. The corn on the right, planted nearby, received the “full program” of beneficial biological products and 2×2 starter nutrients. The list below is recommended by Brad Forkner, crop and livestock consultant at Cherry, Illinois.    

Left sprout: Planted June 4 with no treatment at planting except NPK fertility.
Right sprout: Planted June 3 with full treatment of in-furrow biological products 
and 2×2 application of NPK nutrients. See list of ingredients below.



June 13, 2018 — This photo and data sent to us by Brad Forkner is a followup to our report published two days ago. Corn makes several important physiological “decisions” as it grows through the V-4 and V-5 stages. If it senses good root health, adequate moisture and abundant nutrients, each stalk programs for the number of kernel rows it’s going to set. With optimum conditions, that stalk will push for the maximum kernel rows its basic genetics are designed for. A 20-row ear obviously has more yield potential than a 14-row ear. 

Note the doubling of root depth and abundance of feeder roots on the well-fed stalk at right. Also look closely at how soil clings to the roots on this stalk, indicating thousands of fine hair roots reaching out to dissolve soil nutrients. This expresses more than a day-earlier planting, especially since June 3 planting occurred on “definitely wetter” conditions than the following day. The farm is one of Brad’s new clients in southeast Indiana – one of the wettest Midwest states this spring. 

Here are Brad’s recommended ingredients:

Applied in-furrow:

2 gal. compost tea

12.8 oz. Launch

12.8 oz Velocity

6.4 oz Integrate

0.5 oz. concentrated fulvic

2 dry oz. Maxi Crop

2 dry oz. zinc monosulfate

Total solution including water: 5 gal.


Applied 2×2 with planter

1 lb. dry soluble 10-52-4

2 lbs. dry soluble 20-20-20

4 oz. 24% liquid humic complex, diluted by half with water. (Note: This can also be applied in-furrow)


If you don’t have in-furrow capability on your planter, Brad says you can also apply a combination like this premerge over the row or streamed beside the row after emergence. He’s working with equipment designers and farmers to refine streaming rigs that don’t flop around and can keep an accurate stream coming with a 24-row RTK sprayer going 10 mph. “Applying after planting is better than doing nothing,” says Brad.