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Senior Advisor


Has anyone experimented with biochemical products in thier dry fertilizer spread or even in their starter or popup fertilizer applications?  I ran across a few products that claim to add early growth but they won't gaurentee any additional yield but claim that it generally happens as well.


Seems like there are 100's of fertilzer additives being marketed to us today that almost promise the world.  Do these actually work or is it just something that adds $ to our cost of production?  I'm all about ROI, but don't want to waste money on something that is a farse.  All these companies present us are trial results on how their products boosted these tests beyond the producers standard practices.  I would like to know how many other tests or trials they've conducted that showed no gain or even a reduced yield when the test was final.

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13 Replies
BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Biochemistry

I`ve used fish fertilizer as a starter and a bio product at about #10/a through the insecticide boxes, it was organic so the yields weren`t to write home about, had I not used it yields might`ve been a little less to write home about  🙂


I`ve used a product called Agri-SC and told to spray on 6 oz/a "until it works", well after a couple years of that, I just tiled more and that did work  🙂



As I understand the `pop ups` they can give you early growth that doesn`t always translate into higher yields.  If it`s sandy low CEC soils it might help or if it`s a cold spring.  There doesn`t seem to being any short cuts to having a balanced soil.  The soil is the plant`s stomach, fill that and it`ll feed the plant.   JMHO

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Senior Advisor

Re: Biochemistry

Thanks BA.  Your along the lines of what I was thinking as well.  If we balance our soils we shouldn't need these miracle additives.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Biochemistry

Starter fertilizer in general does not boost yield,  But if I had $20 for every additive product that "claim to add early growth but they won't gaurentee any additional yield but claim that it generally happens as well".------  I would have a little bit of my experimentation money back.

The only thing, after 40+ years , I can guarantee you is those products WILL show up like mosquitoes when there is a profit to spend and disappear whe money gets tight.  And that alone tells you how effective they are.


My guys will keep trying a few things just like I did ------- The last test I ran was drilling in a little plastic looking pellet that was supposed to absorb moisture and release it as the plant needed it.  I still watch that one pass across the field in every soil map.  Also ran some in field trials of V5 fungicide on corn not telling anyone where the 15% treat area was.  Ran that one three times------ no visible or yield difference.  Still watching that one too.


My advice, Have a long memory.  And expect results not excuses.


Those idea guys can smell when you have some extra money in the bank.  And they have learned to work the agronomists.


Senior Advisor

Re: Biochemistry

I would hold onto my money, but if it still
Bugs you "what if" then buy a bag, try it
Somewhere you only know, and help
Yourself. Most Lilly has some plant hormones
Like gibberlic acid, etc.
I had not herd using the prills like sw mentioned. In hort uses, or Christmas
Tree production, you make a slury of the
Powder and dip the roots in.....slight help.
Those prills ill bet are the same used by
The lady's making those things you soak
in water, then wrap around your neck to
Keep you cool.
A couple of things the jury is still out on
is avail, humic acid products, and another
That is bacterial that breaks stocks down
The latest is mycoze. Its a symbiotic fungi
That grows on pasture grass roots that helps
with water/nutrient utilization......the only
Thing I will say is have you ever compaired
The root structure of a pasture grass to
that of a wheat plant?

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Biochemistry

Adding snake oil to your dry fertilizer will not have any real benefits, even if you get the product free.  These "100's of fertlizer additives" exist in such quantity because none of them are good enough to gain any market share. 


Profitiing in dryland row crop farms comes in these steps:

1) Fertilizing fields properly, according to needs (grid sampling, or Veris rig, the latter of which is often prohibitively expensive)

2) Selecting varieties suited for YOUR fields (or even for certain parts of your fields)

3) Properly selecting and applying herbicide and pesticide (better profits available to those willing to tank-mix and/or "spike" herbicides)

4) Marketing your crop.


Anyone think otherwise and/or want to add to this list?

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Honored Advisor

Re: Biochemistry

One thing I should have mentioned.  it is the one thing that I love yield mapping for.  

We will run 4 passes of a product or a fertilizer trial, seed variety, inoculent, whatever------ across a circle or field ------ that's 400 feet.  Or with a planter about the same.  Then take the yield map data and keep changing the parameters until they are changing the colors for as low as a 2 bushel variation.  If an idea works it shows.


Many never show up.  Best and most consistant positive test was for early harvest.  Corn harvested as high moisture corn(26 to 32%) compared to dried down in field to 15% or less.  

Less by bushels but still obvious is Harvesting at 20% or drying in field to 15% or less. 


All shrunk to 15% for comparison.

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Biochemistry

Ask for the results of multiple randpomized on farm tests. If those results are not available the product is probably bogus. My first exposure to thiese products was called Bio Act in 1963 when I was an ag tescher in Gage County. The sales pitch has not changed....Soyroy


Honored Advisor

Re: Biochemistry

We are not row crop farmers (only hay) and have been contract raising pigs for 20 years, so buy very few "products".  That does not prevent us from being asssaulted by every a$$hole with a telephone, trying to represent that we mailed back a card from a magazine - which I NEVER DO! - claiming to have the miracle product of this millenium. 


My rule of thuimb has always been that if you have to call me, to make me aware of your product, I don't want it.  If something is the next greatest thing, you will hear of it by some other route. 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Biochemistry

Well just to be fair to the advertising that helps to keep the lights in here, I'll try to
Explain how some of the stuff works.
Ill tackle humic acid first. It is an organic
Acid. The claims to "make what you have
Work better" (((++ PLEASE NOTE IT IS NOT
Anyhow, it seems to work better on higher
Ph soils. If you look in all first year
Soil science books you'll see a chart
Showing all the nutrients, along with
A Ph chart. On average most elements
Are most available around 7.0.
When the acid is applied it "buffers"
A small area where some of the roots
Are at, and does, sorta, make what you
have somewhat more available, and
What you put on with the acid will
Not be bound up as much..
So maybe in a 4 inch sphere it might be
True, but the plant will soon grow out of it.
I have also seen in one case where a fellow
was told he didn't need phosphate, just need
To use product, since the soil test showed
Enough. He didn't understand it and showed to me. The lab said he needed 55 to 60# P.
They were looking at the Bray #2 which
Did show 165#.....that test "should not"
Be used to make recommended fertilizers,
since it was designed for a different purpose.

So, in this case the company didn't totally
Lie, but it is of limited usefulness.
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