Renewable Farming

Yield map signals a 20-bu. or more gain with an in-furrow biological, a biostimulant — and WakeUP Spring

This is one of those cornfield trials where we wish there’d been random-rep, statistically significant data. But the visual evidence on the combine yield monitor image is so dramatic we feel it’s rational to report.

December 20, 2017 — The photo of the combine monitor’s yield map (shown below) reveals a bold band of almost solid green. It documents that something other than soil type kicked that 30-acre section of the field over 230 bu. of corn per acre. 

Yellow indicates 200 to 230 bushels. The red areas indicate below 200 bushels. Most of the endrows are red, and some of the low spots are also red. This is in central Iowa, on good prairie soils which are nearly level with some low, wet spots. The grower’s estimate is that the average gain per acre in that green, treated area is at least 20 bu. per acre. Maybe more.

Here’s our research cooperator’s analysis. His 16-row planter is equipped with in-furrow pumps. He applied this in-furrow blend when planting his 106-day Champion hybrid:

1. Vitazyme, a biostimulant from Vital Earth Resources. 8 oz. per acre.

2. Environoc 401c, a microbial/fungal mix from Midwest Biodyne, 8 oz. per acre.

3. WakeUP Spring, our formulation of WakeUP recommended for mobilizing in-furrow nutrients, biologicals and growth stimulants.

We keep searching for products and techniques with synergistic responses — a balance of yield boosters that reinforce and amplify each other. This trial points toward a combination that encourages more comprehensive field tests on a bigger scale. 

A synergistic balance is especially trial-and-error for companies trying to build formulations of beneficial bacteria, mycorrhiza, actinomycetes and other microbes. For example, AgriEnergy Resources SP-1 biological is a combination that “just works as a living community,” as manager Dean Craine said at a seminar in Princeton earlier this month.

Midwest trials we’ve seen suggest that Midwest Biodyne’s 401c, and its companion 501c, are also “sweet spot” families of more than 25 organisms which complement each other. The parent company which developed the Environoc product line has decades of experience with microbe mixes which reinforce each other.

Adding the non-microbial biostimulant, Vitazyme, apparently amplifies the crop’s ability to take fuller advantage of the nutrient surge supplied by the microbial bloom around  new roots of emerging corn. 

Here’s the yield map. Please scroll down past the map to see more details, including costs, of this in-furrow combination. It looks like the return here was $6 in corn for $1 of in-furrow products. That’s figuring corn at $3 per bushel. We’ve long been enthusiasts for in-furrow application as a means of leveraging the most return from a dollar of nutrients or yield enhancers.


Bright green band on left shows corn yield over 230 bu. per acre
where in-furrow blend was applied.


A special note on this field trial: The rate of Vitazyme applied here was only 8 oz. per acre, rather than the full 13 oz. label rate. Environoc 401c was used at 8 oz. per acre, half the full 16-oz. label rate. WakeUP Spring was used at the recommended rate of 3 oz. per acre for the in-furrow work. This trimmed the product cost to $10 per acre. A full rate of Vitazyme and 401c would have bumped product cost to $16.75.  

That’s pricing WakeUP Spring at $90 per gallon and 401c at $68.50 per gallon. (Vital Earth asks us to price Vitazyme on customer request, so their pricing is not subject to internet trolls.)

Adding WakeUP Spring into the soil moisture solution via the in-furrow mix reduces water’s surface tension, root absorption of nutrients, and nutrient transfer within the crop. 

A technical side note here explains why it’s especially important to use WakeUP Spring in-furrow rather than WakeUP SummerOur WakeUP Summer formulation is such a powerful surface tension reducer and surfactant that it can temporarily constrain upward osmotic movement of water from roots through the xylem tubes. The xylem tubes move moisture up. The crop’s phloem system moves leaf sap out from leaves, throughout the plant. The phloem transfer is an ionic “pumping” enhanced by WakeUP Summer. The Summer makes plant sap easier to pump. It has the same effect on foliar spray systems, making spray solutions flow more easily through spray tips. Often, computer-controlled spray rigs will tweak down the pressure by two to four pounds when WakeUP Summer is in the tank mix. The same volume is applied, just slightly less pressure to deliver it. Of course, this benefit isn’t needed underground. WakeUP Spring’s formulation is longer-lasting in crop metabolism. 

Our research cooperator saw several other positive responses on his field tests with various products in 2017. He’s currently investing in the latest GPS and yield monitor technology, which will enable him to transfer combine monitor data to his office computer where he can overlay yield maps, soil type maps and nutrient test data. Our goal for such systems includes this: The ability to mouse over a yield map on the computer screen, select an area of interest, and instantly compute the average yield and grain moisture from those sample blocks in the outlined area. 

This is the kind of information a farmer needs in the search for those combinations of products and technologies which add 5 bu. here and 15 bu. there with consistent cost-effectiveness.  We’ve field-trialed with a weigh wagon for a decade, and have found that about one foliar nutrient mix out of four shows a consistent return on investment.  The one consistent response is this: If a micronutrient or other foliar generates a reliable yield response — including WakeUP in the tank mix — it will almost always lift that yield response by 80% Example: A foliar micronutrient adds 5 bu. of corn yield. Adding WakeUP almost always nudges that up another 4 bu., to a total cumulative response of 9 bu. per acre.