Renewable Farming

“Leveraging” soil microbial life with WakeUP — on cover crops

Farmers and research agronomists keep discovering profitable new uses for our two formulations, WakeUP Spring and WakeUP Summer

Ironically, one proven use is to apply WakeUP Spring in the fall. Sprayed on winter wheat, WakeUP Spring mobilizes more sugars and other chlorophyll-built nutrients into the roots.  The roots exude up to half of those nutrients into the soil, igniting the growth of beneficial soil mycorrhiza and good bacteria.  The beneficial fungi multiply and munch through raw crop residue, converting it to plant-available nutrients with 10 times the dissolving power of root acids alone.

On over-wintering crops like wheat, deep roots lay the foundation for resisting winter damage, plus accelerating growth the following spring.  This is something we’ve know for years.

Now here’s the new opportunity:  Spray five ounces of WakeUP Spring on fall-emerging cover crops. If you have some leftover liquid starter fertilizer including trace element blends, this is a good chance to multiply benefits from the last few gallons. Cost of WakeUP would be about $3.50 per acre. It’s a convenient way to get some extra profitable use from your sprayer before winterizing it. 

When we drilled Dakon radish (tillage radish) with clover in fall 2014 and sprayed it with some WakeUP Spring and a gallon of 28% nitrogen per acre, the growth was vigorous until a hard freeze chilled the radish in December.

The most startling result from WakeUP-sprayed tillage radish came the following two seasons. We saw virtually no weeds in the field where tillage radish residue blanketed the soil.

The ground sponged up moisture in Spring 2015. Shrunken, decomposing tillage radish roots left pathways for moisture and nightcrawler burrows through our density layer, which is about eight inches down. Our only herbicide use was a light rate of pre-plant Dual.  One light cultivation cleaned up most escaping weeds.

This spring — 2016, the second season after the radish cover crop in fall 2014, the “imprint” of low weed pressure showed up again. And this season, here in northeast Iowa, was brutal for weed control with frequent rain all spring and summer. 

Our experience underscores evidence which “biological farmers” have long cited: Get your “biome” or microbial life energized, and weed pressure abates.

This fall, the 2016 corn crop looks exceptionally vigorous and healthy on that ground where tillage radish and a legume “prepped” soil life.  We’re looking for practical ways to seed covers into standing corn — even bought an old Hagie high-clearance sprayer for retrofitting with a Gandy seeder.

But… WakeUP is the extra “leverage” that multiplies sugar translocation from leaves to roots. It’s the “kicker” that helps pump energy to the beneficial organisms down there.

We should mention that this all comes on top of three years of gypsum (calcium sulfate) applications at 1,000 to 2,000 pounds per acre. 


Fall application of WakeUP Spring on tillage radish and clover cover crop