Renewable Farming

Since 2008, we’ve learned 10 ways WakeUP amplifies your profits

In April 2008, I first heard about the original surfactant which we transformed into today’s WakeUP. Three companies in Florida and one in Ohio advertised a “plant-based” cleaner/surfactant that supposedly stimulated crop growth. I tested one of these products on raspberries and garden veggies. Result: A profusion of sweet raspberries — and a vast oversupply of Blue Lake green beans. 

March 28, 2022: By Jerry Carlson  The original recommended use of this product: Foliar-applying in a 1:250 water dilution on young crops. Result: big, vigorous roots teeming with healthy mycorrhiza. Recommended foliar rate then: 10 ounces per acre. Cost: $11.72 per acre.

After a few years, our family firms — Renewable Farming and Generation Ag — created WakeUP Spring and WakeUP Summer with an enhanced formulation. Recommended foliar rate now: 5 ounces per acre. Cost: $3.50 per acre. Recommended in-furrow rate now: 3 ounces per acre. Cost: $2.10.

Today, our WakeUP Spring and WakeUP Summer are safe and effective for a dozen uses on your farm, garden — and even in your home.

Here’s our series of discoveries, based on years of random-rep field trials on our research farm and thousands of acres of farmer clients’ experiences.

1. Foliar sprayed in water on corn and beans at V2 to V3, five ounces of WakeUP Summer per acre in 15 to 20 gallons of water stimulates massive roots. The roots are richly colonized with beneficial bacteria and fungi. Lab tests show that WakeUP dramatically reduces surface tension of water from 70 dynes to 30 dynes. With WakeUP in crop metabolism, plant sap flows more freely from leaves through phloem tubes to roots and growing points. Sugar levels in corn roots, measured in brix, jumped 71% after foliar-applied WakeUP. Data in the nearby chart comes from research agronomist James Porterfield of Illinois.

Roots exude about half of their photosynthetic sugars and other nutrients to feed soil organisms. This energy builds massive mycorrhizal networks around roots. Fungal filaments have ten times more dissolving power than roots, converting soil minerals into solution for root uptake and crop growth. Mycorrhiza also absorb tiny water films which root hairs can’t access. This helps plants keep growing in dry spells.

Some farmers include WakeUP Summer in postmerge weedkiller sprays when crops are a few inches high. They see that WakeUP amplifies absorption and translocation of contact herbicides.

A 12-bu. yield gain today

2. Field tests in 2010 showed that WakeUP’s surfactant/mobilization power amplifies yields from foliar nutrients. We asked a neighbor, Jim Luiken, to foliar-feed shoulder-high corn in three replicated field-length strip trials with Kugler’s KQ-XRN, a slow-release liquid nitrogen. A gallon of 28% foliar nitrogen alone raised yields almost 7 bu. above control strips. Tank-mixing WakeUP amplified yield response to almost 12 bushels. That spray in 2010 cost $7.45 for N, $6.05 for WakeUP — total of $13.50. Today, 5 ounces per acre of our greatly improved WakeUP Summer is only $3.50; the N is about $9 a gallon — total of $12.50. 

In hundreds of yield trials over a dozen years, we’ve seen the same pattern: If a foliar nutrient mix boosts yield 5 bu., adding WakeUP adds another 3 to 4 bu. per acre at a cost of $3.50 at our in-season price.

One of our crop consultant friends, Terry Frommelt of northeast Iowa, reminds us why many trace-element foliars don’t show a yield response: “As little as 10% of foliar-sprayed trace elements get into the crop’s metabolism.” One part of this problem is the chelating agent used. 

A second answer for plant absorption of foliar-applied nutrients: tank-mix with a highly effective surfactant, penetrant and mobilizing adjuvant. That’s WakeUP’s job! We manufacture WakeUP entirely from plant-based ingredients. All are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as food additives. Your crops quickly absorb WakeUP and metabolize it, along with the NPK and trace elements.

Even if you spray a WakeUP solution while leaves are sparkling with dew, or in 90% humidity, you can watch your foliar spray turn leaves glossy wet, then dry in about 15 minutes. That’s because your spray solution with WakeUP absorbed into leaf metabolism. It didn’t evaporate. 

Some of our highest-volume WakeUP clients are citrus growers. Citrus leaves have a thick, waxy cuticle to conserve moisture against intense sunshine and warm temperatures. WakeUP’s unique cleansing power softens the waxy outer layer temporarily. Foliars quickly penetrate into citrus leaf metabolism.

3. WakeUP mobilizes minerals within crops, increasing yield and grain test weight. We learned this on our own research farm. We found that WakeUP in the crop’s plant sap helps nutrients flow quickly through phloem tubes into grain and growing points. An experiment on the local ACRES research farm gave us the data in the nearby chart. We sprayed soybeans during pod fill with a trace mineral blend, mobilized with WakeUP. When soybean pods had filled, we sent treated and untreated pods containing beans to Midwest Labs for analysis. 

WakeUP tank-mixed in the spray solution with five important trace elements raised mineral content in pods and seeds by 41% to 190%. Manganese and zinc — two critical elements which are typically tied up by glyphosate — were increased 190% and 134% over untreated controls. Boron, which is often deficient in Midwest crops, rose 38% over controls. 

This is why we recommend growing-season analysis of plants, either with sap tests or tissue tests. With a sap test, you can gain a few weeks of “advance notice” of hidden deficiencies. When you see yellow leaves… it’s too late to make up for much of the lost yield.

 4. WakeUP Spring is our “gentle” formulation for mobilizing in-furrow and 2×2 biologicals and nutrients. WakeUP Spring reduces surface tension like Summer. It’s designed for use in-furrow and with biological organisms. Example: Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies of Spokane tested the survival of its endophyte spores, BioEnsure, with WakeUP Spring at our standard 1:256 dilution and found no reduction in viability.

We never thought to test WakeUP for its impact on roots until Nebraska farmer Arlynn Aldinger told us he saw a clear-cut soybean yield response using 3 ounces of WakeUP per acre with his starter mix, applied in-furrow. We’ve learned that in-furrow and 2×2 WakeUP Spring amplifies root uptake of nutrients, as reflected in yield increases. 

 5. WakeUP in water builds “colloidal micelles” which gently chelate and mobilize nutrient minerals. When we manufacture WakeUP, the bioactive ingredients generate heat. That reaction fuses plant-based oils and sugars into negatively charged colloidal particles less than one nanometer in size. When you mix WakeUP into water, each tiny colloid attracts positive hydrogen ions of surrounding water molecules. Result: a cluster of water molecules called a micelle. You can see this happen in clear water: It turns from transparent to slightly cloudy. Negatively charged micelles repel each other, and water loses most of its surface tension. That allows WakeUP solutions to flow across leaf surfaces and form a thin, glossy coat.

WakeUP colloidal micelle

Here’s the most powerful part: Negatively charged micelles chelate, or gently attract, positive ions in nutrient elements like phosphorus, zinc, manganese, boron and others. Plant leaves readily accept this combination of nutrients and WakeUP micelles. As we understand crop physiology, photosynthesis in the palisade cells pulls off the minerals for growth. WakeUP/water micelles then mingle with the resulting sugar-laced plant sap. That reduces its “sticky” surface tension for easier flow through the phloem tubes which carry sap to roots and shoots.

Our point: WakeUP is far more unique and effective for nutrient mobilization than common, toxic “surfactants” which often contain phosphates and other chemicals. 

6. WakeUP Summer is a powerful spray tank cleaner. We’ve learned this from farmers’ experience over the years. If you switch between glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate or other chemical groups, just rinsing won’t totally etch out residues in hoses, filters and other niches in your sprayer. We’ve posted a downloadable tank-cleaning protocol using WakeUP at this link. That PDF description points out that with WakeUP in your spray solution, your computer-controlled sprayer may adjust the operating sprayer pressure somewhat lower than you’re used to seeing to apply, say, 15 gallons per acre. What’s happening? WakeUP in your spray solution makes it easier to pump through filters and spray tips. Your system is clean. The solution has a low surface tension. And WakeUP makes water slippery

7. Field results indicate that WakeUP offers 2 or 3 degrees of frost protection. This is more important as some Midwest farmers advance soybean planting into April. We already published an article containing this point on March 19; you can read it here (see item 6).

8. WakeUP concentrate doesn’t freeze in the jug, so you don’t need heated storage. Also, we’ve stored samples of WakeUP for 10 years and find its performance just as strong. It darkens with time, and expresses a bit more ammonia odor. But it still performs like new. Thus, no problem with carrying WakeUP forward from one season to the next if your cropping plans change.

9. WakeUP helps suspend insoluble, micronized nutrients in your spray solution. Many farmers are finding positive results with micronized calcium, silica and other crop nutrients. We’ve found that the ionic effect of WakeUP’s colloidal micelles make these fine particles easier to suspend uniformly as your tank agitation does its job. We learned this point several years ago, working with Lithovit, a micronized calcium from Germany. 

10. It’s as safe to handle as liquid dish soap. WakeUP containers include cautions about getting it in your eyes. But for 12 years our family has used pure WakeUP in pump dispensers at every sink for washing hands, cleaning greasy pots and pans, and even cleaning windows. One of our mentors in formulating our “flavors” of WakeUP is a nationally known maker of industrial cleaning products — using colloidal micelle technology. In your shop, WakeUP is highly effective for cleaning greasy parts without harsh solvents. We’ve long used WakeUP as the cleaner in our Hotsy power washer to blast dirt and grease from farm equipment like combines and tractors. At trade shows we’ve often handed out hundreds of 8-oz. pump bottles of WakeUP. We’ve heard no reports of skin irritation or other reactions from sample recipients — or farmer clients who’ve used WakeUP more than a decade.

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