increased farm profit starts with healthy soil

Increasing Farm Profit Starts With Healthy Soil

Making a profit in agriculture is becoming increasingly difficult. Extreme weather events are becoming the norm. Are they affecting your bottom line as a grower?

2018 was the wettest spring in recent USA history. Many growers were unable to get into their fields in much of the country with only half of projected corn crops planted.

Yet in over 40% of the western USA extreme drought conditions make drylands growing impossible. Furthermore, water use for crop irrigation has become more of a political than an agricultural issue. At the Oregon/California border wild salmon populations were being destroyed by low river levels. In response to help minimize the fish depopulation the federal government cut off water destined to potato and alfalfa fields.

Water is a scarce, and costly, resource in almost all of the USA west of the Mississippi River. Growers continue to experience water discontinuances which affect the growing viability of the field. Letting a field go fallow and selling water rights is sometimes a solution, but not for the long-term. Without irrigation many crops grown in the USA will have to be imported. And the list is long. The quality and quantity of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and berries are dependent on water in the root zone.

There’s also the problem of degraded soil. Are you using more fertilizers every year? Are you tilling and leaving your fields bare for parts of the year? Those fertilizers are getting more costly every year, cutting into your bottom line. And it’s not just inputs that are eating at your profit, it’s also farm machinery, seeds, and fuel.

rising fertilizer prices

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-08/fertilizer-index-soars-to-record-threatening-higher-food-prices


With the growing costs of inputs, the last thing any grower wants to deal with is nitrogen leaching. Due to higher costs of fertilizers, (and the trend doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon) the importance of preserving those inputs becomes even more crucial.

Couple extreme weather conditions with degraded soil from excessive tillage and synthetics use and you get poor crop productivity.

Besides the changing climate patterns, consumers are demanding higher quality food products. They’re expecting greater transparency from farm to fork, with fewer synthetic chemicals used in production.

These conditions are creating an urgency for growers to find a sustainable solution quickly or face becoming increasingly less profitable year after year. Are you facing these issues?

How Can You Meet Consumer Expectations in a Changing Agricultural Environment?

Of late, many growers are focused on treating the cause, rather than remedying symptoms. More and more growers are becoming aware of soil health and how much it impacts their operation. They are noticing the long-term benefits of incorporating those practices.

Healthy soil means more organic matter in your soil, more beneficial biology, better water retention, and improved soil structure.

Decreasing tillage and synthetic fertilizer, pesticide, and fungicide use addresses both soil health and consumers’ increasing demands for chemical-free foods. Improving soil health leads to improved crop health. Nutrient dense crops are possible when your plants have access to those nutrients and that is made possible by beneficial biology.

With healthy soil, extreme weather effects on your crop can be mitigated. You become less dependent on fertilizers and yields are higher. All of these put together means a better bottom line for you as the grower, while at the same time setting yourself up for more favorable growing conditions for later harvests.

You’ve been looking for ways to improve your soil health. You’ve probably spread manure on your fields, perhaps planted cover crops, and even used less tillage but haven’t seen any difference – except more weeds. Perhaps you’ve even used a humic acid product recommended by your fertilizer dealer, along with other amendments to get your pH in the 5.2-6.2 range. You saw a small increase but not enough to justify adding yet more amendments to your arsenal.

The Key Takeaway Here Is That…

Not all humic acids are made equal. The manufacturing process and the raw materials from which they originate can produce very different humic acids.

Humic acid gel is radically different from the liquid and powdered forms of humic acid you may have used in the past. Incorporating humic acid gel as a soil amendment has increased growers’ yields from 20% - 50% and decreased dependence on synthetic fertilizers; and in some cases, it helped reduce disease pressures.

Perhaps you’ve never used humic acid before and so your question is…

What is Humic Acid?

It’s a complex set of molecular structures that are formed through the chemical and biological break-down of plant and animal matter through the biological activities of microorganisms.

Until recently, only liquid and powdered forms of humic acid, mined from Lignite or Leonardite, were available. These humic acids are processed using either high heat or cold extraction made possible with the addition of salts to the Lignite. They’re energy intensive and leave gaping holes where they’ve been extracted. The liquid humic acid process uses chemicals in processing, specifically alkali, and the resulting products have chemical residue and are highly alkaline. Liquid humic acid has a pH ranging from 9 to 14 depending on how long the Lignite was heated and how much alkali was used.

The powdered humic acid is made from Lignite also but salts are added so the humic acid can be cold extracted. These are usually high in organic matter (not necessarily humic acid) and are highly acidic. The pH range for powdered humic acid is 1 to 4. Both powdered and liquid humic acids can have severe impacts on agricultural soil.

The sustainable harvesting of humus from peat bogs results in a holistic product that contains humic acid, fulvic acid, and native biology. No chemicals are used in the production of humic acid gel, only cavitation and fine grinding to create a water-soluble gel for ease of application. Humic acid gel, with the intact native biology, has many benefits for agricultural crops.

Because there is no chemical processing involved and water is the carrying agent, humic acid gel has a pH of 5.2-6.2, perfect for most plant growth. Humic acid gel is an organic product containing humic acid, fulvic acid, and native biology, which work holistically to allow for the release of nutrients when the plant needs it.

Adding humic acid gel to water decreases water surface tension and allows greater nutrient uptake. Fulvic acid is the smallest component of the humic acid gel and penetrates root and shoot surfaces carrying very potent payloads of nutrients for immediate use by the plant. This has a direct effect on plant metabolism, the rate of photosynthesis, and chlorophyll over an extended period of time.

Biology is critical for healthy soil and increased crop yields. Improving your soil biology positively impacts:

  • Nitrogen mineralization
  • Potassium and phosphorus solubilization
  • Nutrient cycling in the plant rhizosphere (where it matters most)
  • Suppression of pathogenic microorganisms through increased competition

Humic acid gel improves soil structure (which reduces erosion) and water retention, increases nutrient uptake in plants, decreases leaching of nutrients (preserving your investments), and boosts microbial activity. These work holistically in conjunction, which ultimately lead to a better bottom line for the grower.

How and When Do You Use Humic Acid Gel?

In most agricultural settings humic acid gel is applied 3 times during the growing season. It’s natural and has no chemical residues so it can be used up to harvest. It can also be used as a seed soak, in seedling media, or a foliar spray.

plant nitrogen uptake

Seed soaking and soil application with humic acid gel improves N uptake, especially when N fertilizer rate is reduced. The combination of seed soaking and soil application of humic acid gel increased Nitrogen Uptake by 47% even when N fertilizer was reduced by 40% - Research on Humic Land™ effect on plant growth - McGill University 2021

Many growers, perhaps you, buy pretreated seeds. They may be pretreated with toxic chemicals and fertilizers. If you use humic acid gel in your farm management as a seed soak you won’t need those toxic seed treatments. Seeds treated with humic acid gel have been shown to have:

  • Faster germination rates
  • Increased nutrition uptakes
  • Better seedling root development
  • Less susceptibility to pests and diseases

Additionally, when humic acid gel is applied to your soil, soil health is improved, giving the crop the ability to withstand drought as well as torrential rains. Some of the benefits you may notice from the progressive use of humic acid gel are:

  • Are stronger and healthier
  • Increased foliage
  • Have more blossoms and fruit set
  • Increased yield, at harvest
  • Increased pest and disease tolerance

It doesn’t take very much humic acid gel to make a big difference.

Your farm will benefit from healthier soil. Healthier soil will have a direct impact on both crop health and yields, while reducing input leaching. A simple way to look at it is:

Less Inputs + Humic Acid Gel = More Yields

Which means more money in your pocket.

 

What Can We Learn From Analyzing Field Trials?

In field trials a holistic humic acid gel improved the health and yield of orchard crops such as avocado and almond, specialty crops such as cilantro, pepper, and tomato, among others and field corn. Rigid field tests have been conducted to determine the effect of humic acid gel on crop growth, soil nutrients, and microbial activity.

orchards increase foliage reduce phytophthora

Analyses have looked specifically at diversity of soil fungi, the fungi/bacteria ratio, root and shoot development, and plant yields. Every analysis showed a direct correlation between greater diversity of fungi, decreased pathogenic fungi, and improved crop yield.

Even when the fungal disease Phytophthora was already evident in an avocado orchard, humic acid gel was trialed. In the plots where only the humic acid gel was used the Phytophthora was suppressed. Where the grower used a fungicide and the humic acid gel, limited benefits were noticed. The humic acid gel plots increased the fungal biodiversity to 550µg while the fungicide/humic acid gel plots only had a biodiversity of 194µg. Visually the trees looked much healthier where the humic acid gel was applied. The Phytophthora was suppressed in the root zone without the necessity of a fungicide.

Humic acid gel was trialed in pepper fields in California where drought is a major issue. The result was greater above ground biomass which shaded fields thus retaining moisture, suppressing weeds, and resulting in less sunburn on fruit. In the pepper trial the soil with humic acid gel was 15% sandier than the adjacent control plot. Even so, there was a 20% increase in yield with the humic acid gel.

peppers increased foliage and decrease field temperature

In cilantro trials, the below ground root mass has also been shown to be greater with humic acid gel because water is retained in the root zone and a greater diversity of microorganisms supply needed nutrients. This trial was duplicated several times over various sized blocks ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 acres. An average increase of 20% in yield was noted across all fields.

cilantro increased root volume and feeder roots

A trial in Florida using humic acid gel on tomato plants allowed the grower to reduce his nitrogen fertilizer application by over 50%. As the grower became acquainted with the benefits of using the soil amendment, he began carefully tracking the nutrient levels in the plant which allowed him to reduce nitrogen inputs with confidence. Two major factors enabled this. Firstly, increasing the soil retention capacity reduced the leaching of inputs therefore optimizing input use; secondly, the improved nutrient cycling taking place at the rhizosphere improved the nutrient availability to the plant.

The humic acid gel was used in cornfields in Iowa. An agricultural analysis firm was hired to test the fields throughout the growing season. They concluded that humic acid gel showed:

  • Decreased nitrogen immobilization
  • Increased potassium and phosphorus solubilization
  • Decreased carbon losses through methanogenesis
  • Increased manganese transport
  • Consistent increase in the abundance of beneficial plant growth promoters and beneficial biology that enhance stress tolerance

Improved crop yield starts with healthy soil. Incorporating humic acid gel into your irrigation system or as an amendment adds a wealth of beneficial biology and fulvic and humic acids.

Find Out More About Humic Land™ and How We Can Help

Humic Land™ is the only gel formulation of humic acid on the market. It is sustainably harvested from peat with minimum soil disturbance. It is made available to growers through Rogitex, a 3rd generation family owned & operated company committed to a sustainable future. Humic Land™ contributes to soil health by incorporating humic acid, fulvic acid, and its native biology. With healthy soil our growers get:

  • Higher yields
  • Improved Crop Stress Resistance
  • Increased Chemical-free environment
  • Increased carbon sequestration

We enjoy the great relationships we have with our growers and our favorite part of the day is seeing them get results. We are passionate about helping them get the maximum output from their operations, and create earth-friendly solutions that promote sustainable farming.

Incorporating Humic Land™ helps retain the valuable nutrients in the rhizosphere, where it’s needed most, securing investment and resources every grower works hard to provide their crop with. This means obtaining greater yields with less nitrogen.

With Humic Land™ costs go down and yields go up while building a sustainable future for our children and grand-children.

Straight From the Growers

Boskovich Farms, inc. | Ventura county, CA

"Humic Land has proven to increase cilantro yields by 20% over 10 different fields. Cilantro root establishment is noticeably better. Cilantro stands with Humic Land are visibly more established."

-Bryson Daniel Farm Production Manager

4 Star Farms, inc. | Myakka City, FL

"I did 2 commercial trials with Humic Land in the spring of 2020. The first was on 15 acres of chip potato, Round White Atlantic was the variety. We chiseled Humic Land on either side of the seed. We saw an increase in yield and overall plant vigor in some real sandy soil."

-Brent Shackelford Branch Manager

A Farm in Coachella Valley, CA

"We were impressed with the results obtained with Humic Land for Coachella Valley Bell Pepper Trial."

-The Grower

Tomato Thyme | FL

"We started using Humic Land in early 2020. After several stages of integration and positive replicable results, Humic Land is now standard across our operations.

In addition to building our soil structure, Humic Land increases the plants' foliage without negatively affecting yields, reducing fruit sunburn. As a result, we have decreased our fertilizer cost while increasing our yields, optimizing fertilization, and improving revenue per acre."

-Greg Wilson Lead Grower

For more information, contact us.


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'Soil For Humanity' is an organization started by Rogitex as a free educational resource about Organic and Sustainable Farming Practices.

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