March Organic Update: March is for Microbes
Posted by Dani Kusner, Agronomist on March 08, 2021
Now that temperatures are warming, frost-seeding is occurring, and mud seems to be everywhere, I wonder how we made it through another winter. As humans, we survive the harsh elements of snow, ice and wind with insulated shelters and carbon-extracted heat sources, but how do animals and plants make it through? They have some serious evolutionary skills that allow them to prosper, and part of their survival mechanism is the microbiology that is functioning in the background to constantly support life processes.
Biology in the form of tiny, microscopic creatures – bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes –is necessary for any living entity. Whether it is for a corn crop, an animal or a human, a healthy, robust and diverse population of microbes are essential for them to thrive. A significant problem in agriculture is that many practices, such as tillage, high-salt fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, kill microbes and suppress their populations. In a transitioning organic field, or a certified organic field that has experienced a lot of stress, it can be helpful to re-introduce the microbiology in the form of a liquid biological solution to allow these beneficial bugs to re-populate and re-invigorate the soil and growing crop.
The Andersons Organics is excited to announce we are now distributing CX-1 by Purple Cow Organics. This broad-spectrum liquid biological is a compost extract containing hundreds of different bacterial and fungal strains. CX-1 can be added to any field pass, such as in-furrow at planting, at side-dress, or as a foliar, to introduce microbiology directly onto the crop. These microbes will go to work to make more mineral nutrition available to the crop, along with improving plant health and resilience from disease and pests. The result is a more nutrient-dense, higher yielding crop. In 2020 field trials in Tennessee on organic corn, there was a 16 bushel increase over the check, at a 5-gallon application rate of CX-1 with 1 pint of Fulvic LQ™ in furrow. In 2019 field trials in Wisconsin on organic corn, this same application rate of CX-1 plus Fulvic LQ resulted in a 13 bushel increase average over the check.
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Dani Kusner has worked in biological and organic farming systems since graduating from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Science in sustainability studies. She worked at the Rodale Institute and consulted with growers in both Canada and the United States. Dani worked for The Andersons from 2016-2021 and is still an active advocate and resource for organic growers.
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