Renewable Farming

Limit-up jump in corn futures encourages new look at biological yield boosters

Many corn and soybean growers will be recalculating their 2021 crop input budgets after today’s Annual Crop Production Summary. USDA cut 2020 corn yields by a surprising 3.8 bu. per acre. By early afternoon, corn futures bumped limit-up 25 cents. Soybeans climbed 35 to 50 cents; winter wheat 25 to 30 cents.

January 12, 2021 — Already in this grain rally, longtime WakeUP clients have told us they’re “thinking about spending another $5 or even $15 an acre” for a biostimulant like Vitazyme, or a micronutrient mix, or a promising biological like BioEnsure, to add 5 bu. (or more) to corn yields in 2021.

Over the past decade we’ve learned:

— Most farmers look for at least a $3 return per $1 invested as an incentive to try an add-on nutrient or “bio” product.

— Results from the best micronutrient mixes, NPK blends and biological products vary from field to field, season to season. Soil conditions dominate. Thus, we’ve learned to allow for a “success rate” around 80%. 

— Corn-soybean growers’ resistance to trying a new “bio” starts climbing parabolically when the up-front ante climbs above $8 an acre. That curve may flatten a bit with higher corn/soybean prices. We’ll see.

We created a spreadsheet grid which calculates profit per acre on corn from $3 per bu. to $5, when WakeUP Spring is added to mobilize an in-furrow nutrient mix. Our experience indicates that many proven nutrient and biological blends enhance corn yields around 5 bu. per acre or better. In such cases, including WakeUP Spring in the tank mix typically improves performance another 4 bushels. Three ounces of WakeUP cost $2.11 per acre. At $3 corn and a 4-bu. yield gain, (discounted for an 80% success rate), that gives you an extra $9.60 an acre, or a $4.55 return per dollar invested.

With the possibility of $5 cash corn, this same yield benefit gives you an extra $16 per acre, or a $7.59 return per dollar risked. That ratio is promising enough to attract a second look by cautious corn growers.

We use in-furrow WakeUP as an example for another reason. This type of use emphasizes that WakeUP is far more than a “surfactant.” It’s a nutrient mobilizer, inside your crop’s vascular circulation system. Most cheap surfactants are made from toxic petroleum-sourced or phosphate-sourced chemicals. WakeUP is entirely formulated from plant-based sugars, alcohols and other components which are also used as FDA-listed additives for enhancing food qualities. Being plant-based, crops assimilate and metabolize WakeUP along with the nutrients which it carries into roots and leaves.

Data from our 2010 field trial. We’ve repeated this kind of
experiment in field trials many times over the past decade.

Hundreds of ag surfactants reduce surface tension. “Stickers” like methylated crop oil can reduce leaf runoff of foliar-applied products. But it’s what gets into crop metabolism that raises yields. That’s what WakeUP does. It builds a colloidal micelle structure in water which lifts and softens the outer cuticle of crop leaves, then carries your nutrient mix into the leaf’s phloem circulation system.

We demonstrated that more than a decade ago at a nearby Cedar Falls research farm, operated by ACRES. In a random-replicated experiment, we foliar-fed a healthy soybean crop during pod fill with a micronutrient mix alone, then added WakeUP to the same mix. When tissue-test data came back from Midwest Labs, we used it to build the nearby chart showing how more leaf-applied nutrients were carried through the plant — even into the “fruit” of beans and pods — with WakeUP in the solution.  This is what generates extra yield! 

Update January 22, 2021 — A Wall Street Journal website feature this morning announce that “Surging Grain Prices Fuel Surprise Farm Recovery.” Here’s one of the quotes selected by WSJ reporter Jesse Newman:

“Farmers are going to be bidding for farm ground, replacing combines and talking about ways to put another 10 bushels per acre into their bins,” said Michael Swanson, agricultural economist at Wells Fargo & Co., a major farm lender.