Biologicals and Unconventional Products
A number of PFI farmers experimented with unconventional products in 1994. Dave and Lisa Lubben, Monticello, continued a line of investigation they began several years ago, testing ACA (zinc acetate), ACA is said to increase nitrogen uptake of corn under some conditions, but Dave and Lisa tried the product on soybeans this time (Table 1). There was no effect on yield.
Jeff and Gayle Olson, Mt. Pleasant, evaluated a package of biological soil amendments from Ag Spectrum. In both corn and soybeans, they applied GrozymeTM and Agri-SCTM (Table 1). Jeff reports that Grozyme is said to release soil nutrients, and Agri-SC is said to be a soil conditioner to help the Grozyme go into the ground. The products were added to an herbicide band in each trial. Crop yields were not different than in the check treatment that received the herbicide without the biologicals.
Lynn and Linda Stock, Waukon, evaluated a package of biological amendments from Farm for Profit. Lynn describes RemedyTM as a microbial inoculant that is sold to clean petroleum residues from the soil and improve structure. AchieveTM is a product said to provide nutrients for the microbes in Remedy. The trial was carried out within the strips of a narrow strip intercropping field, and that complicated the analysis. However, no difference in corn or soybean yield was seen between the biological treatment and the control treatment (Table 1).
John and Rosie Wurpts, Ogden, were PFI Sustainable Projects participants in 1994. They carried out an evaluation of two approaches to soil fertility, comparing ISU recommendations to a package of biologicals from Agrienergy (Table 1). This was the fourth year of the comparison. As in previous years, there was no significant difference in yield, so the economic difference was based on input costs alone. In earlier years, the ISU Extension recommendation was for no fertilizer except nitrogen for corn. In 1994, the ISU recommendation included some P and K for the corn. However, the cost of the fertilizer was less than that of the biologicals.