Renewable Farming

Each season, we conduct 10 to 20 field trials here at our home “plant” in Cedar Falls.  We are also the research coordinater for WakeUP distributors nationwide. Actually, worldwide. We watch research in India, the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.  And we get occasional reports from the European Union, where researchers are using WakeUP to mobilize things like energized rock powders.

In 2015, we’re testing two interesting products for a second season:

1. Lignition, a plant growth regulator derived from lignin — such as the lignin in wheat straw. Researchers have long known that growth-stimulating compounds are found in certain carbon-containing molecules within the complex structure of humates — which are derived from lignin and cellulose in crops. In the past few years, several biological fertility firms have developed “soluble” humates in attempts to deliver those growth-encouraging factors. 

We’ve tested a few of these, but found that most of them are not fully soluble. They’re best handled as in-furrow support or 2×2 row support, rather than foliars.

But Lignition is entirely different from the usual humic or fulvic acid product, which is often derived from a mined source of humates such as Leonardite

Lignition is derived from fresh crop residue, primarily wheat straw. It’s processed by intensive heat and extraction of the growth-encouraging compounds which are normally preserved in humates. Thus it’s easily dissolved for use as a seed treatment, blended with fertilizers, or applied as a foliar along with other fertility products such as trace elements.

We’ve never seen a product that fits so easily into normal management systems. Even the grower whose only field spraying is with weedkillers and fungicides can include Lignition as a tank mix.

Our interest, naturally, is to investigate whether Lignition’s systemic performance can be enhanced by WakeUP as part of the application.  In 2014, we used a very poorly drained 12-acre field to run corn strip trials on Lignition alone and with WakeUP. The average yield of nine strips (310 feet long) treated with Lignition alone outyielded the average of 15 control strips by 2.41 bushels. This response fell into the lower end of the range of other trials where Lignition was applied by itself.

When we included WakeUP with the Lignition seed treatment or foliar, the average yield of 11 strips was 32 bu. over the controls. This was enough encouragement to prompt us to repeat the trials in 2015.

The manufacturer of Lignition has almost 10 years of field research in Canada and elsewhere around the world. We’re cooperating in trials on farms and in our own research plots.

Here’s a quick set of links to research results from 2015, posted at various times on our website.

WakeUP helping mobilize in-furrow nutrients and biologicals:
WakeUP increased corn yield response with Attain micronutrient foliar in Nebraska field trial
28-bu. yield gain with Symbiosis AGx and Prudent Presto Gold in-furrow on corn
(Follow the links in this report to see the tables of actual plot data in 2015, and with Presto gold in 2014.)
Report on how biological farming led to 250 to 300 bu. corn for Keith Schlapkohl
Reports on Lignition yield trials out of Ontario, plus earlier Lignition reports from Dave Sutherland
Vitazyme results on soybeans in 2015  — 5 bushels




Planted field

One interesting project in summer 2012 was testing a wide array of micronutrients and primary nutrients to “heal” crops under stress from lack of moisture and lack of nutrients. The yellowed soybeans in the photo here were planted late in an old pasture which hadn’t been fertilized for years.  They have a serious deficiency of potassium (0.42 percent, when they should have at least 2.2 percent). And they have at least a temporary deficiency of manganese (49 ppm when they should have 58 ppm). 

Despite the fact that we’ve had only 0.53 in. of rain the past 40 days and nights as of July 22, we will be foliar-feeding these beans early in the morning when there’s a trace of dew. We will use WakeUP to mobilize the foliar ingredients.

Meanwhile we have 70 corn plots and 220 soybean plots, screening for synergistic responses between WakeUP and foliar-applied nutrients.

We concur with International Ag Labs that foliar feeding is the Next Frontier in production ag.

Here’s an example of how we’re conducting plot trials with the help of Bruce Voss, who was Mr. Soybean Research at Iowa State University for many years and now runs his own soybean variety testing service for several seed firms.

Bruce spraying the field

Bruce plants and harvests the plots; we do the spraying.  Thus, these are random-rep plot trials with a third-party source of data.  We always set up at least five replications of each treatment. And in our screening, we run five reps with WakeUP and five reps without WakeUP, to discern the WakeUP Advantage of teaming our surfactant/mobilizer with a nutrient product.

In past years, we’ve found that WakeUP has increased yield effectiveness of foliar-applied micronutrients by about 80%. 

We also are interested in testing the potential synergism of WakeUP with various water treatment systems — the “structured” water treatments such as Pursanova and the Ultimate Water units.  We have a farm water treatment system built by Pursanova, and have found many benefits with it.