Renewable Farming

How in-furrow biologicals plus WakeUP and Vitazyme help cope with soggy soil, late planting

Jeff Adams, who farms about 40 miles south of the Chicago metro region, was able to plant corn on part of his sandy ground April 23. Some fields received an in-furrow blend of WakeUP Spring, 6 ounces of Vitazyme, 16 ounces of Biodyne’s “Environoc 401” microbial mix, plus 3-18-18. Today Jeff phoned to report that his treated corn is about V2 stage, and it’s definitely “darker green” than untreated corn planted near the same time.

May 20, 2019 — Jeff adds: “I should  be able send you root comparison photos fairly soon.”  In Jeff’s area, only about 10% of the corn was planted as of May 20, and only 2% of the soybeans. 

Early root proliferation is when corn begins expressing the power of in-furrow mixes containing these three components:

1. Live biological organisms such as Environoc 401. Jeff has also used AgriEnergy’s SP-1 with good results. It’s the consistently performing ‘granddaddy’ of the biological blends.

2. Vitazyme biostumulant, and

3. Our WakeUP Spring as the mobilizer which helps roots take up extra nutrients released by the microbes.

There may be some natural health-related immunity encouraged by the multiple species of beneficial bacteria in Biodyne’s 401. Jeff saw good emergence even though seed lay in cold, soggy soil about three weeks before emerging.

Vigorous, deep root growth is vital this season. Late planting, plus possible dry-weather stretches in July-August, is a scenario which hurt many regions in 2018.

Over the years we’ve dug a lot of corn roots in seasons when soil was saturated early, then dry weather stress hit in late summer. Roots which were not treated with an in-furrow stimulus package like Jeff applied were typically pancaked: They didn’t have to punch deep early, and couldn’t extract deeper moisture in the heat of late summer.

In Spring 2018, we arranged a random-rep trial on soybeans managed by the ACRES research service near Cedar Falls, IA. They in-furrowed Environoc 401 plus WakeUP. Treated beans showed a very visible advantage early in the season, with deeper rooting and taller growth. Test strips extended across a nearly level field pocked with shallow potholes, so when rains hit, the wide variability in plot velds prevented us from getting a statistically significant yield. The best single plot yield, 61 bu., occurred on a strip which had a fall 2017 treatment of Biodyne’s Meltdown residue digester, plus an in-furrow mix of Environoc 401 and WakeUP Spring.

If you’re not set up for in-furrow application, applying the 1-2-3 mix above with a Y-drop, spike injector or streaming tips on your sprayer is also effective when corn is up. Even banding near the row gave corn an 8-bu. nudge in 2017 in a trial conducted by Dr. Michael Orzolek of Penn State – one of America’s most respected crop scientists. Read about it here.

A long-term program of improving soil life and flocculation — tilth — is sound insurance against stress of too much rain followed by too little. To dramatize that, AgriEnergy Resources e-mailed a “GroundWork” report describing how a grower broadcast a gypsum and compost treatment right after planting, with clear-cut results that season.  Here’s the AgriEnergy report:

By AgriEnergy Resources

A significant portion of the Midwest and Eastern United States is faced with a similar dilemma – too much rainfall. Much of that acreage may remain unplanted, thousands more acres will get mudded in. Farmers fully recognize the yield penalties they will incur from planting into wet soils and are asking, “what to do now?”

One answer is to surface apply, immediately after planting, a soil reconditioning package. But first, let’s examine the damage caused when we have excess precipitation. Soil structure is compacted, oxygen content is minimal, beneficial soil biology crashes hard, and nutrients leach. This situation is a very poor environment for plant growth. It’s the very situation where one commonly sees corn roots that are hatchet shaped – roots unable to penetrate sidewall compaction caused by openers run in wet ground.

The good news is, we can still positively effect soil structure and restore yield potential! This picture from Iowa shows how we can do that. There was virtually no oxygen present because of prolonged saturation, along with poor tilth. We immediately took action to “shock the soil.” The grower spring applied 1,000 pounds of gypsum and 1,000 pounds of humified compost per acre. We left one 40-foot pass without those inputs (check), and a 40-foot pass (treated) got a double rate of gypsum and compost. 

Treated area on the left

The results were spectacular. While only 5% of the soybeans emerged on the untreated strip, 80% emerged on the treated areas. The 95% that did not emerge in the check failed to germinate. But our most spectacular discovery was how quickly a combined application of calcium, carbon, and beneficial soil biology creates tilth, especially in warm soils with adequate moisture. 

We first made this observation after broadcasting PractiCal and SP-1™ on compacted hay fields. We even coined the term “flash flocculation” to explain what we were seeing. Where these products were applied, the ground quickly became more mellow. That effect lasted all season. What we’ve learned more recently is that flocculation is a prerequisite to aggregation, and a well aggregated soil is tilthy, healthy, and productive. 

How does that apply to 2019 corn? It applies for corn that was unavoidably planted into wet ground, especially on ground high in clay. To get specific, we recommend a band or broadcast application of 3-5 gal/acre PractiCal (calcium with carbon) plus 3-5 gal/acre MT17 (biological soil conditioner) sprayed on top of the corn rows. This application can undo a lot of the damage previously done and restore a big chunk of your original yield potential. These products should be sprayed as soon as possible after planting, even if the corn has emerged. 

If you are concerned that the 2019 planting conditions have taken 50 bushels or more off your yield, call AgriEnergy today and ask about PractiCal and MT17. 815.872.1190.


Update May 24: Another two examples arrived today from AgriEnergy as their agronomy staff recalled earlier instances of in-furrow biologicals which gave corn a boost after late planting:

“Starter fertilizer can help accelerate early root development and growth. (See the nearby photo of corn at V2.) A southern Illinois farmer recently used a starter, which consisted of 5 gallons of 4-21-4, a half-gallon gallon of trace element mix, and 3 gallons of SP-1™ in-furrow. As you can see in the picture, there’s already a visible difference between the treated and check. Last year, the same grower conducted a similar trial showing the check made 240.6 bushels/acre, while the treated made 292.8 bushels/acre.”

“On May 31, 2011, a northeast Ohio AgriEnergy dealer (who is a firm believer of in-furrow starter programs) saw a 36.5 bushel increase on in-furrow treated corn. He blended 2 gallons of SP-1™ with 5 gallons of AgriEnergy’s PKT Blend in-furrow. The treated corn yielded 223.68 bushels per acre. It was also 4 points drier at harvest than his untreated corn!”

In 2017, one of our clients in north central Iowa omitted NPK fertilizer in his in-furrow mix, and used the savings to apply a full 13-ounce rate of Vitazyme plus 16 ounces of Biodyne’s Environoc 401 and 3 ounces of WakeUP. 

In 2018, ACRES Research here at Cedar Falls used Environoc 401 plus WakeUP on beans, in-furrow. Here’s a link to our report on this test — you can see the early-season difference.