Biologicals, Humics … What?
There are a lot of buzz words in modern agriculture: soil health, sustainability, regenerative agriculture, precision farming and the list goes on. With the rise in commodity prices this year, farmers are trying to maximize the genetic potential of their crops. This has opened the door to many ‘magic bullet’ products in the market, leaving producers questioning the science and capability behind them. The truth is, though, there is sound science behind a lot of these products, we do not treat them like a one size fits all type of product. Depending on your agronomic practices and budget, we can find a product that fits your needs.
Biologicals are gaining significant popularity for the majority of Canadian farmers. Biologicals are beneficial to crop protection tools found mainly from naturally occurring living organisms. They fall into two main categories: microbial and biochemicals. Microbials are relatively well understood, but there is still lots to learn and research regarding biochemicals.
In terms of how these fit into modern agriculture, there are obvious and commonly used examples such as nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, which is used on pulse crops. These rhizobacteria form root nodules that fix atmospheric nitrogen that is transferred into the plant. There are organisms in the soil that convert ammonia into nitrates. Other organisms take phosphate and solubilize them to make those elements available to the plant. These organisms are in a mutually beneficial relationship with the plant, that can work to improve overall soil health.
Although the biochemical segment of biologicals is relatively undervalued, we are beginning to see considerable advantages to using humates. Humates consist of humic and fulvic acids, as well as raw humates. Humic and fulvic acids combine minerals to make them into organic compounds ingested by plants more efficiently. Humates come from a variety of sources, such as shale and coal. Different sources and processing methods are used to create humate fertilizer products.
When considering biologicals, it is essential to work them into an integrated pest management system. These products work best when paired with a well-managed fertility and soil plan. That way you are ensured optimal results. They must complement a nutrient and not replace a nutrient. Biologicals show significant value, but we are also faced with some limitations. Often, these products are misused and misplaced because growers don’t understand how to use them.
At SynergyAG, advancing our knowledge around these products is extremely important to us. We have a research facility located in Pense, Saskatchewan, where we frequently test products before recommending them. We collect soil from various locations around the province to ensure that the products we are trying will perform to peak standards for our SynergyAG team and our growers. We send our agronomists out with their boots on the ground to scout and monitor the field’s activity. Contact your local SynergyAG agronomist today to learn more about the future of biologicals.