Renewable Farming

Why WakeUP can hold down your costs while preserving — or improving — yields

Your chemical and fertilizer budget this season may be lean, but your corn and soybeans don’t have to go hungry. You can replace a lot of cash with a little more management — including use of WakeUP to make in-furrow and foliar products more effective.

Since we began field-testing WakeUP in 2008, we’ve learned this rule of thumb: If a foliar nutrient lifts corn yields 5 bu. per acre, you gain about another 4 bushels by tank-mixing it with WakeUP. Retail is $90 per gallon, which is $3.50 per acre. Many of our clients buy pre-season at $80 per gallon, which is $3 per acre.

March 30, 2020 — Here’s how WakeUP provides more effective absorption and mobilization of expensive foliar nutrients and biologicals. (These attributes also apply to herbicides and fungicides tank-mixed with WakeUP.) We’ve tissue-tested and confirmed this many times since 2015, and compared WakeUP with several other surfactants (see nearby chart for an example). 

These are the three things which make such effectiveness possible. WakeUP is an —

1. Exceptional surfactant. Five ounces in a gallon reduce water’s surface tension from 70 dynes to around 30 dynes. Sprayed leaves (even fuzzy soybean leaves) are glossy with uniform spray coverage.

2. Perfect penetrant. WakeUP softens and temporarily lifts the leaf’s outer cuticle, which is designed to keep moisture within the leaf. Your sprayed nutrients or crop protection products absorb into inner leaf metabolism in just a few minutes.

3. Effective mobilizer. All ingredients in WakeUP are plant-based. FDA allows all our ingredients as food additives. WakeUP speeds nutrients, biostimulants and crop protection products through the crop’s phloem circulation system. It also accelerates the flow of leaf sugars to roots. Sugar exuded from roots stimulates beneficial microbes, which dissolve soil minerals more rapidly. 

Many surfactants like crop oils stick foliar sprays on the leaf surface. WakeUP powers your foliar nutrients and herbicides into plants. Rain-fast in minutes. Quick leaf absorption and metabolism also reduces loss by evaporation from leaves.

We know from field experience that you can get glossy coverage on leaves with medium to coarse droplets, rather than using spray tips which create a fine mist subject to quick evaporation before reaching the leaf.

What makes WakeUP so unique among the thousand or more surfactants, stickers and other spray adjuvants? Our concentrate looks like honey, but the intense heat of manufacturing creates billions of tiny colloidal particles in suspension. Blended with water, you’ll see the water turn a slightly milky color, indicating billions of “colloidal micelles.” These micelles are like negatively charged ball bearings which repel each other, so the resulting spray solution loses most of its surface tension — the sticky nature of water. But each colloid bonds with positively charged hydrocarbons and minerals. This is what lifts the waxy cuticle from plant leaves, and carries your spray product into the plant’s phloem transfer tubules.

Here’s a graphic of a colloidal micelle: Since these water micelles repel each other ionically, your spray solution becomes easier to pump. That’s evidence of lower surface tension. Example: If your computer-controlled sprayer is set to deliver 20 gal. per acre at 8 mph and 45 lbs. of pressure, you’ll likely see the pressure on the computer screen drop about three pounds, while still delivering 20 gallons per acre. This colloidal-micelle water is just easier to spray. (WakeUP also cleans your spray system as you use it.)

Water micelle formed around a WakeUP colloid

As our WakeUP sales volume grew since we began manufacturing, we’ve cut the cost to $3.50 per acre or less. A decade ago, the earliest version retailed for$155 per gallon. Some growers who also use the Pursanova system of restoring the natural energy patterns of water cut WakeUP foliar rates to two or three ounces per acre and get excellent leaf coverage with equal yield benefits. Our recommended rate for in-furrow applications is three ounces of WakeUP: $1.05 per acre. 

One discovery with WakeUP about six years ago has proven consistent in yield trials: A few innovators had told us that three ounces per acre of WakeUP Spring in their in-furrow nutrient blend enhanced corn yields 3 to 6 bu. more than the nutrients alone. Even soybeans responded by two or three bushels per acre more than with nutrients alone. So we went on to also test WakeUP Spring in-furrow with biostimulants and live biological mixes. These products also showed enhancement with WakeUP present. An example is a 2016 report testing an AgriEnergy product combination: SP-1 with a test nutrient called EvenUP. We reason that WakeUP Spring improves product absorption by emerging roots, just as it helps on leaves. 


WakeUP fits well into today’s new emphasis on transferring dollars from NPK to beneficial bacteria and fungi products, saving money and building yield. WakeUP amplifies a richer microbial environment by helping pump sugars from leaves to roots. About a third of this sugar is exuded by roots to make the microbes bloom. These living organisms have about 10 times the mineral dissolving power of roots alone. The nearby chart is based on data from Illinois research agronomist Jim Porterfield. It shows that root sugar level (brix) doubled within 45 hours after spraying with WakeUP, SEA-90 and 28% nitrogen.

We’ve accumulated years of data on improved foliar nutrient absorption and yields, using WakeUP Summer. Just scan through our “News archive” list and click on reports referring to our field trials and farmer results.

Almost three-quarters of Midwest farmers usually put the sprayer away after their postmerge herbicide application, or maybe a late fungicide application. But the other one-fourth keep spraying with yield enhancers — NPK, micronutrients, biologicals, biostimulants such as Vitazyme or AgriEnergy’s SP-1 — well into the season. They replace an expensive one-time shot of preplant NPK with well-managed, lower cost microdoses of products to keep fields green and growing.

This is the strategy of crop contest winners. If you’re willing to expend the management and some extra field time, it could lift your net margin from negative to a strong positive.


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