Renewable Farming

How WakeUP can amplify your fertility effectiveness and profit in 2016

Corn growers may be easing back on dry P and K fertilizer applications for 2016 to cut costs per acre this spring — but they’re looking for ways to increase yield response with in-furrow, side-dress and foliar applications of liquid nitrogen and NPK blends. 

WakeUP is the perfect partner to achieve that — cost-effectively. Since 2008, our hundreds of test strips and on-farm trials have shown us that WakeUP typically returns $3 to $5 per $1 invested. That’s especially true this season, even with lower grain prices, because our rising volume of WakeUP use allows us to reduce your cost for WakeUP to as little as $2 per acre for in-furrow application of about three ounces of WakeUP Spring.

1. Apply in-furrow nutrients and biological products, amplified with WakeUP Spring in the tank mix? We realize the high premium for on-time planting.  Many farmers with big, central-hopper planters want nothing to refill except seed when they’re planting. But with today’s sophisticated electric pumps and delivery systems, we’re seeing blends of liquid in-furrow NPK, microbial, mycorrhizal, fish, plant growth products and WakeUP build roots, speed uniform emergence, and increase yield substantially.  Corn yield contest winners emphasize that simultaneous emergence and vigorous early rooting is the foundation for dynamic yields and late-season filling of corn without die-down. 

On our test strips in 2015, we documented a 28-bu. yield bump on corn with in-furrow WakeUP Spring and two nutrient products — a new kind of emulsified fish, and a well-proven blended trace element.

Also last season, one of our experienced Iowa WakeUP users saw at least a 30-bu. corn yield benefit from in-furrow application of NPK, a biological product, our experimental “Lignition” and WakeUP. 

Since in-furrow applications can be delivered in only three or four gallons per acre, there’s not a lot of extra volume for the tender truck to service. From what we’ve seen, the first $10 to $20 worth of products for in-furrow nutrients and biologicals is the highest return investment in fertility we’ve found so far. We have to admit: We didn’t think of this as a way to realize benefits from WakeUP. A grower, Arlynn Aldinger, first alerted us to the yield gains. He found three to six bushels of adding WakeUP to in-furrow nutrients with on-farm testing. WakeUP intensifies nutrient translocation and uptake through roots, just as it does through leaves. We prefer WakeUP Spring for the in-furrow job: It’s longer-lasting in crop metabolism and very gentle with biologicals like mycorrhizae. One of our favorite in-furrow biologicals is AgriEnergy Resources’ SP-1 — which is one of the longest-proven “bios” on the market.

Phil Pitzenberger corn roots

2. Foliar-apply WakeUP Spring on corn and soybeans at the two-leaf stage to amplify growth of roots and mycorrhizae. Yes — this is the “hard part” of meeting a spring field schedule that takes full benefit from WakeUP. Usually this WakeUP application gets done by farmers with 1,500 acres or less who have their own sprayers. It doesn’t look like there’s much corn to spray. Weeds probably haven’t emerged for your “postmerge” herbicide trip. 

Yet, an application of 5 ounces of WakeUP Spring on corn when it’s almost “pop-can high” makes farmers enthusiastic whenever they can get it done, and when they compare rooting with and without that V2 (two-leaf) application. One of our clients, the Pitzenberger family of nearby Greene, IA has been diligent about this trip every season since digging corn roots “with WakeUP” and “without” in 2012 (see nearby photo, courtesy of Phil Pitzenberger). Some farmers with 30-inch rows set spray nozzles every 15 inches on their boom, with one set directly over the row, and simply cap the alternate nozzle to save half their spray material for the WakeUP Spring pass at V2. That cuts the WakeUP cost to less than $2 per acre.

Here’s why WakeUP Spring amplifies beneficial mycorrhizal growth surrounding roots: Foliar-applied WakeUP Spring at the two-leaf stage moves into crop metabolism and remains in phloem circulation through about the 5-leaf stage. It reduces internal surface tension or “stickiness” of plant sugars generated by chlorophyll. It reduces energy needed to move leaf sugars to roots and growing points. The root exudes more sugars, amino acids and other natural nutrients to feed mycorrhizal hyphae surrounding the root. These good fungi are “workhorses” with 10 times more solvent power than roots to mobilize soil mineral nutrients. Triggering a bloom of beneficial mycorrhizal species is extremely beneficial in the days following the  two-leaf stage of crop growth. By the five-leaf stage, corn has “decided” how many kernel rows to set.

Brix analysis by agronomy researcher Jim Porterfield of Illinois showed us that corn sprayed with WakeUP Spring at the V2 stage had about 70% more root sugars 48 hours after spraying. You want the leaves to be sugar factories, not warehouses. Move the sugars to the roots and growing points with WakeUP Spring!

3. Add WakeUP to side-dressed N for increased soil mobility. We tested rates of water absorption in soil — with and without WakeUP Summer in the water. We carefully weighed bottom-perforated pans of dry soil, placed the pans in a shallow tray of water, and measured the weight every 5 minutes for an hour to see if WakeUP increased moisture absorption rates. A small amount of WakeUP in the water increased absorption by about 10% in the first 15 minutes. It indicates that 28% liquid nitrogen will also migrate via soil moisture toward the root zone more rapidly if the nitrogen solution is spiked with about a half-ounce of WakeUP Summer per gallon. Several years ago, innovative farmers discovered extra yield gains by adding WakeUP to their 2×2 fertilizers. In the Southeast, many corn growers use 2×2 nitrogen plus WakeUP Spring, and later liquid nitrogen plus WakeUP Spring trickled on with Y-drops, as their total nitrogen feeding program. Very efficient use of nitrogen.
4. Spray WakeUP Summer blended with foliar NPK and traces to increase efficiency of nutrient absorption in the crop. We’re seeing yellow corn fields fighting for nutrients in wet soil. Add 5 oz. of WakeUP Summer to the foliar nutrient mix of your choice. If a foliar fertilizer blend usually enhances yield 5 bu. per acre, our field tests show that WakeUP Summer can improve its yield another 4 bu. per acre for a total of 9 bu. more per acre.  An example is AgriEnergy Resources’ foliar, Accelerator. Including WakeUP nudged up the response to Accelerator on corn by an extra 13 bu. per acre in a 2013 trial. 
Foliar nutrient absorption by crops is up to 10 times more effective than soil-applied nutrients. Use tissue tests or sap tests to get early warning on deficiencies. In a glyphosate program, odds are high that manganese, zinc and other traces will be temporarily locked up, so foliar applications can prevent lost growing time.