Renewable Farming

Why full-season foliar feeding your corn and beans raises yield and profit

A new webinar titled Feeding the Monster shows crop responses to nutrients applied in-season to keep your big crop — your “monster” — performing for maximum health and yields. The video is narrated by Bodie Kitchel, National Director of Agronomy at Biodyne USA and BW Fusion.

July 8, 2021  By Jerry Carlson   What I’m encouraging you to watch is the video on the Biodyne USA home page. Your “monster” is the awesome corn or soybean crop that’s growing robustly, demanding huge nutrient supplies to achieve yields up to full genetic potential. Kitchel shows you the products and technologies to keep it growing and filling through the season.

In recent years we’ve seen corn die down early, losing that last 40 to 50 bu. of yield which growers could have gained by foliar-feeding at strategic times during the growing season. Also, late-season diseases like Sudden Death Syndrome have often crippled soybean yields, when adequate late-season mineral nutrition could have kept the crop filling pods.

Here’s some detail on the venture behind the video.

BW Fusion is a joint venture between Wells Ag Supply of Fonda, Iowa and Biodyne USA of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Several products in the Biodyne microbiology line are manufactured at the Wells Ag facility in Fonda.

We have a keen interest in the Biodyne product line for several reasons: We’ve long advocated full-season crop nutrition. Renewable Farming LLC became a Biodyne distributor soon after Biodyne began marketing in the Midwest. Our Iowa rep is Bob Wagner based in Clear Lake, Iowa. WakeUP is the ideal tank-mix companion and mobilizer for in-furrow, foliar and Y-drop nutrients.

The BW Fusion venture is investing heavily in field-based yield data — taking advantage of farmers’ ability to map and measure yields with GPS sprayers and combine monitors. BW Fusion teams up with a laboratory for tissue testing to guide timing and formulas for the most profitable foliar feeding. This service is called the 365 Yield Program; check it out at this link.

Another reason that our firms — Renewable Farming LLC and Generation Ag LLC — connected with Biodyne early on is that it’s an independent, family-based venture, like ours. We manufacture WakeUP in our own plant. Grant Wells is the entrepreneur behind Wells Ag; Gilman Farley is the entrepreneur behind Biodyne USA.

I asked Gilman Farley, President of Biodyne USA, for some context on how the BW Fusion and 365 Program evolved. Here’s a summary of the “rest of the story” as told by Gil: 

“Biodyne USA’s relationship with Wells Ag Supply started six years ago, when Grant Wells began marketing our products. The Midwest market began to grow with Wells, plus guys like our Iowa rep Bob Wagner and crop consultant Larry Eekhoff, plus you at Renewable Farming. 

“We decided to install biological product manufacturing capability at Wells Ag at Fonda, Iowa. Wells Ag does $100 million in chemicals and fertilizer; we do biology and our specialty products. 

“Our relationship with Grant Wells has been excellent. We decided to create a joint venture, BW Fusion. This season, BW Fusion has grown to 15 sales reps in nine Midwest states, and we’re expanding farther south. This summer we’re finishing a 50,000 square foot building for additional production of biologicals at Fonda. 

“A foundation for our growth is managing BW Fusion’s nutrients and biologicals based on soil and tissue testing under our 365 program. Soil tests include full mineral analysis plus the Haney biological test. We began this after I met Body Kitchell, who has extensive experience with soil and tissue analysis. Body and his associates have abundant experience, and know what the crop needs throughout the year. 

“As you know from working with biological products, many times the crop starts strong but runs into nutrition limits during the season. These limits block the crop from expressing its full yield potential. The 365 program implies full-season nutrition, based on tissue plus soil tests. The results of nutritional inputs are tested and documented, adding to each farmer’s database of proven biologicals and nutrients. 

“We’re out to change agriculture — to help farmers gain more yield with less expense.”

Gilman Farley, Biodyne USA president,
at new 50,000-square-foot BW Fusion Fleur
facility at Fonda, Iowa.

As the manufacturer of WakeUP, we’re enthused about encouraging full-season nutrition needed by the crop. Most farmers quit hiring custom spraying operators early in the season. Getting a custom operator to spray early in a cool, quiet morning is touchy. So for years, we’ve urged farmers to own a high-clearance sprayer so they can apply nutrients at the right time. You can get by with a $20,000 to $30,000 sprayer, not a $300,000 sprayer, to apply nutrients and biologicals. For comparison research, you can set a few flags to mark untreated control strips. We did test strips very precisely for years on our own research farm — with a used Hagie high-clearance rig.