Renewable Farming

WakeUP Summer doubled corn yield gain in Nebraska foliar nutrient trial

Foliar feeding corn with the Aurora, NE Cooperative’s “Attain” micronutrient alone added an average of 2.7 bu. onto 275-bu. corn in a random-rep trial this season.

Including WakeUP Summer in the tank mix as a surfactant and nutrient carrier pushed that yield gain to almost 6 bu. per acre.  The professional research firm reported the average yield increase to us on three replications as 5.95 bushels.

The largest increase on one of the plots with the Attain/WakeUP combination: 9.31 bushels, bringing total yield on that plot to 284.5 bushels.

This is the kind of response to a good foliar nutrient that we’ve come to expect since we began such tests in 2008. If a foliar nutrient enhances yield by itself, adding WakeUP Summer will typically nudge that yield benefit another 80%.  In this case, the added benefit was 125%, signaling that the foliar package was a very effective “fit” for this corn hybrid and other agronomic conditions.

The main trace elements in Attain are in the sulfate form: Zinc, Manganese and Iron. There’s also 3% Sulfur and 8% ammoniacal Nitrogen. It’s a house brand of Aurora Agronomy, sold by the Aurora Cooperative. (See partial label below.)

Before the Aurora Cooperative offers a product to its customers, its agronomy managers require a reliable field trial. To meet that need, an independent firm, Real Farm Research, operates a test farm near Aurora and conducts trial under demanding scientific protocols. 

Renewable Farming LLC contracted a 2015 corn field trial at Aurora with Jeff Nachtigal of Real Farm Research. The intent was to apply Attain on corn, with and without WakeUP Summer in the tank mix, and take a series of tissue tests along with yield checks.  We specified taking tissue samples of all plots 24 hours after application, and again four days after application. Because of incessant rains, field researchers didn’t take the 24-hour tissue samples, which could have indicated whether increased Zinc, Manganese and Iron were carried into crop metabolism because of WakeUP in the spray solution.  So the only useful data from this trial was the bottom line — final yield.

The cost to a producer for including 5 ounces of WakeUP Summer in the tank mix would be $4.10 per acre. So an extra 3.3 bu. from WakeUP would mean an extra $11.55 worth of corn.

This approaches the usual $3 rate of return per $1 of ingredient cost which farmers see as worth the risk for add-on foliars.

The largest increase with Attain and WakeUP Summer (over the average of three control plots) was 9.3 bu. in one of the plots.  The second largest increase over the average control was 7.3 bushels. 

In our own research trials, we try to use at least six random replications. Commercial researchers often do three or four. 

Other details of this trial: Plots were planted April 21 with Curry 735-44 at 32,000 population. Basic fertilizer on all plots was 225 units of nitrogen plus 5 gal. 9-24-3. Herbicide was Surestart; insecticide was Force at 4.16 lbs. per acre. Plots were 77.5 feet, four rows, with the center two rows harvested for yield. Gravity irrigation on a minimum-till program. Soil is a silt loam located near Aurora, Nebraska.  Harvest date Nov. 2.  We can send detailed plot data to you on request.

Part of Attain label showing analysis