Renewable Farming

We’ll head for the shed Aug. 20, expecting many biologically based new crop ideas!

A machine shed on the Dave Schwartz farm just west of Guthrie Center, Iowa is the venue for a farmer meeting where we expect to learn a lot about unleashing the yield power of soil biology. This farm is mostly highly erodible ground with corn suitability ratings downward from 60 points. 

July 24, 2018 — This season, ear counts on Dave’s farm show prospects for 400-plus-bushel yields. Last fall, we visited a field day at the farm shortly before harvest. The audience was primarily innovative growers looking to break out of costly formula farming and into enriching their soils and bank balances with biologicals.

Dave Schwartz and some of his test-plot corn in 2017

Dave Schwartz has two primary long-term missions in farming: Protect water quality and build fertile, microbial diverse soil for crop health and yields. (Full disclosure: This season for the first time, he asked us for a few gallons of WakeUP Summer to test in his foliar programs. We’re delighted to assist with such a mission any way we can.)

We’ve reported several times on results at the Schwartz farm. (To see some of these, just use our search function above, using “Schwartz” to call up the links.)

An unusual aspect of this farm is this: It demonstrates that Billy-goat hillsides with low CSRs can be deliberately built into erosion-controlled, biologically rich soils that push past 300 bu. of continuous corn. Hint: Dave accelerates stalk residue recycling with residue digesting inoculants. He also shreds stalks for an erosion shield and faster breakdown. Cover crops are part of his management too. Each cover crop species encourages about 10 different beneficial soil microbe species.

Dave and crop consultant Bob Streit of Boone, IA, cooperate in several projects, as Dave has the test bed and Bob keeps coming up with ideas to check out. Add that to Dave’s access to scientists with Verdesian Life Sciences, and you see why this is idea-rich territory.  

Last fall, the machine shed on the farm was almost full of farmers.


Here’s how Bob Streit describes the upcoming Aug. 20 full-day meeting. It’s during the week ahead of the Farm Progress Show at Boone, IA Aug 28-30.

By Bob Streit

Over the past few years I have mentioned a research farm down by Guthrie Center owned and run by Dave Schwartz, a farmer and manager with Verdesian Life Sciences.

We have discussed having a field day the week before the Farm Progress Show so people can see the no-till corn-on-corn and view the results in person. Please mark Aug 20 as the date of this field day. Please reserve your spot: Call Carol at 515-231-6710 or email

Trials in place include the use of stabilizers in an area where separate tile systems were installed to measure effectiveness of the products.

There are different demos where several newer products are being tested in a stair-step approach. Because much of the land is highly erodible and soybeans would increase the chance of serious erosion, the ground is mostly planted to continuous no-till corn.

BioDyne USA’s Environoc 501 was applied last fall behind a stalk chopper and it worked like a charm. One area is dedicated to a National Corn Growers Association corn yield contest for the corn-on-corn, no-till, non-irrigated category. Dave’s goal: 400 bu. per acre, plus.

Based on the current appearance and multiple ear counts, if the NCGA contest field avoids late-season hail it has a high chance of achieving that goal. It currently has plants that are black green, quite tall, contain many multiple ears, and show no sign of being diseased. Maintaining the disease-free status is the job of the applied minerals and the BioEmpruv. Last year the corn was dark green until late October and showed perfect standability.

Each ear was filled clear to the tip with zero tip-back and very little to no kernel dent. The actual soil test data show low moderate P and K levels. The Haney and regularly tested PLFA scores are being measured and recorded. 
We are inviting several speakers; many of whom spoke at our March 3, “Show Me the Money” 2018 meeting in Ames. There will be some additional speakers from new companies we are now working with. We think it will be an informative event. 

The kind of ground surrounding the Dave Schwartz test farm west of Guthrie Center, IA.
If he can raise 400-bu. corn here without erosion, you can too.