“Once the guys use it they put it with pretty much every crop they grow. It’s getting better utilization of the fertilizer materials they are purchasing. It simply boils down to getting more bang from each dollar you spend to enrich your crops”.
What is “it?” Fulvic acid, said Tyson Sonnenberg of AGVantage Inc.
“Fulvic acid is a natural chelator for mineral uptake in various crops,” Sonnenberg explained. “You can use it in furrow; you can use it as a foliar. It opens the cell walls of the plant — helping uptake of the nutrients or herbicides. If you put it in furrow with your liquid fertilizer, it will bring over 60 mineral and trace elements into that plant because its small molecular structure stimulates plant metabolism and that boosts nutrient uptake. It boosts cation exchange capacity so your crops access more nutrients”
“I’ve been using it going on nine years now and am seeing great responses. You can use it in different applications. Some cattle guys use it to clean up scouring problems in their young calves. Just a couple ounces in the water with your milk replacer, then pour it into a bottle and run it through the scouring calves. Basically it helps repair cells that are disturbed in the intestinal tract. Some use this product for human consumption too! They drink it to help settle their guts. It helps repair some of those disturbed body cells in the GI tract.”
But I wanted to learn how this product helps build soil health. “Yes, between Fulvic acid and Humates, two main things should be considered: stimulate your soil bacteria and also stimulate nutrient uptake by your crop,” said Sonnenberg.
With these amazing virtues, how expensive is the product? ”Depending on how much you use, your cost per acre would be in that $3 to $4 bracket. So it’s very affordable and if rebuilding soil health is on your agenda in 2020, this is a good way to start,” said Sonnenberg.
How quickly does it go to work in your soil? I got a bit more of a chemistry lesson from Sonnenberg. “Humic acid has a large molecular structure, so it can’t penetrate the cell walls of the root system readily. Fulvic acid, however, has a small molecular structure which gets into the root system quickly. That’s why we urge the usage of both products. Humates starts the biological activity of the bacteria in your soil. The Fulvic acid stimulates the uptake of the minerals that the bacteria have broken down.”
You can purchase these products in either liquid or dry formulas. “Some guys don’t want to mess with handling a dry product, so we bring it out to them liquid. We’ll take care of their needs either way.”
Sonnenberg reports the product has been doing very well in various field trials. He’s a farmer, but not a certified organic farmer — preferring instead the label of ‘sustainable farmer’.
“Since all my crops go into my animals, I haven’t felt the need to be certified because I’m not selling the meat for that purpose.”
Yes, he’s a farmer-to-consumer beef man. Customers buy his beef critters because they know his farming operation. “They like to know the environment of the beef they are putting into their bodies from the meats they purchase.”
Sonnenberg has also noted the growing conversations about nitrate levels building up in soil due to excessive rates of nitrogen being used on corn; and the runoff from these soils into streams and waters.
“If you have a sandy loam, you’ll have more leaching than from clay loam soils,” Sonnenberg explained. “Some of the sands around my area have a leach capability of around 12. You get into those heavier valley-area soils and you’re looking at 20 to 30 total exchange capacities. Humic acid will aid in holding that nitrate nitrogen in place. So if you side dress with 28 percent you should be adding a carbon source. Nitrogen is looking for a carbon source to attach to the soil particles. These Humates chemically change the fixation properties of the soil so you are getting better use of your nitrogen … maybe you can even cut back on the amount of nitrogen fertilizer application rates.”
Sonneberg grew up on a livestock farm — both beef and sheep. He chuckles, “I graduated from the ‘Keystone College’ and majored in Beach.” So how does he approach farmers this spring when they likely are already grouchy about this 2020 farming year?
He said, “Farmers are some of the most optimistic people on this planet, regardless the weather or the price of corn. Just watch … they’re going to get it done this year too!”
AGVantage Inc. is headquartered in Vergus, Minn. (about 10 miles south of Detroit Lakes). Sonneberg, 31 , farms his 115-acre hobby farm in Ottertail County and has four salesmen assisting him. He started with AGVantage in 2014, but was putting their products to work on his own farm six years prior to joining the firm. “We’re all trying to make a better world for everyone else.”
For more information, Sonneberg can be reached at (218) 841-8252; or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.