Renewable Farming

How WakeUP and good soil biology help preserve lush pastures into late summer

The biggest profits from abundant hay and pasture come when drought decimates forage crops across your entire region. A hot, dry summer can also force you to eat up your winter stocks of hay. Since 2008, we’ve found a self-reinforcing system which adds weeks to the life of grass pastures.

Sept. 7, 2017 — First you spray WakeUP Spring or WakeUP Summer during the active growing season, to amplify the flow of sugars and other photosynthesis products to the grass roots. The burst of sugars exuded by grassroots amplifies the “bloom” of naturally beneficial organisms which colonize the roots. These microbial helpers — especially the mycorrhizal fungi — are up to 10 times more effective than roots for dissolving soil nutrients. The microbial creatures also build a sticky “glomalin” which helps absorb and retain soil moisture.

Second, you can further enhance the biological building cycle by inoculating soils with beneficial microbes, which are probably missing from soils which have been fertilized with NPK and tilled for decades. This is especially effective in soils with lower cation exchange capacity and low humus levels.

Widespread, erratic drought regions this summer re-emphasized how much an ongoing forage and pasture program can help. One longtime WakeUP user in Virginia told us a few days ago, “My pastures are still green and growing into September. Every other pasture around me is going dormant with our dry weather.”

We asked for photos. He drove out into the field with a tractor and shot three photos with his smartphone. It’s difficult to show side-by-side comparisons of big pastures from a ground view, but anyone familiar with brome, fescue or other mixed grass knows that a lush and growing pasture through a dry August and September signals something unusual.  Here’s a closeup of the main evidence:

Lush green pasture in Virginia, early in a dry September 2017
Such enduring grasslands are not an “instant” phenomenon. Like most biological benefits, it takes some patience to build healthy, varied soil biological life. But this season, our WakeUP-using friend found a way to amplify the benefits from nourishing his “littlest livestock” underground. He inoculated the pasture soils with an array of beneficial organisms.  His choice of beneficial biologicals was GroPal Balance. This is a combination of microorganisms,, primarily fungi, along with the full array of micronutrients which the beneficial creatures need to multiply in hostile soils. A partial description from the GroPal Balance website linked just above: “GroPal Balance has a predominance of fungi, more than 70 aerobic bacillus species, mycorrhizal fungi, plus other beneficial microbes.”
One unique aspect of this mix is the wide array of nutrients which laces the “live” blend. It includes traces like those found in seawater. 
The least expensive way to purchase the GroPal Balance product, as shown on their website, is about $66 per gallon in 275-gallon totes. The minimum application rate to start treatment is 20 ounces per acre. So the product cost per acre would be just over $10, plus application. Including WakeUP with that at 5 ounces per acre would add about $3.50. You’d probably use your own sprayer; pasture is not a critical GPS-type job. Thus one treatment adds to around $15 per acre. 
The idea is to build synergism: WakeUP amplifies conversion of sunlight to sugars and amino-acid nutrients fed through the roots, and GroPal Balance inoculates with a rich array of organisms eager for a meal. Either practice alone will help. Together they accelerate the enrichment of soil humus, moisture retention and nutrient availability through the season. 
A look at a neighboring pasture shows up in the photo our WakeUP client sent, below. 
The owner of the farm known locally as Ivy Hill, has been using WakeUP since 2011. Back then, he sent some early photos of tests he did on small plots. One that’s still puzzling us is shown in a special report we did about seven years ago, and shown in the page inserted below. One fall, the owner sprayed WakeUP on a small patch of grass near the concrete deck of his house. Then he spent the winter at the family’s southern “resort” vacation home. The following spring he returned to see that sprayed patch of grass had outgrown all the grass around it. 
We take that as evidence of how WakeUP strengthens root systems by amplifying the flow of sugars and other nutrients to the roots, which multiplies the “biome” of beneficial soil organisms colonizing the roots. These organisms are the energizers which feed roots extra nutrients, naturally.