The Cumulative Effect of Biologicals
29 Sep 2321 min 10 sec

There’s an old saying about good things taking time. Such is the promise of biological crop inputs— while they do provide an immediate result, their larger benefit accumulates over time. Chad Henderson compares biological usage to chicken litter. “We’ve been using chicken litter a long time. You don’t see immediate results…But by the third year of chicken litter, you can definitely see things changing in your soil.” Chad joins Holganix’s Mike Batson and Damian Mason to discuss the cumulative effect of biologicals.

Presented by Advanced Drainage Systems

00:00 Hey there. We're talking about the cumulative effect of biologicals in this episode of Extreme Ag Cutting the curve. 00:07 Welcome to extreme Ag Cutting the Curve podcast, where you get a guaranteed return on investment of your time as we cut your learning curve with the information you can apply to your farming operation 00:20 immediately. Extreme ag, we've already made the mistakes so you don't have to. Managing your farm's water resources is a critical component to a successful and 00:31 sustainable farming operation. Advanced drainage systems helps farmers just like you increase their yields up to 30% with their technologically advanced water management products. 00:44 Visit ad s to see how they can keep your business flowing. Now, here's your host, Damian Mason. Hey, welcome to 00:53 Another fantastic episode of Extreme Ice, cutting the Curb. I got Chad Henderson and I got Mike Batson. Chad Henderson's, one of the, uh, 00:58 founding fathers of Extreme Ag. And then Mike Batson is an an agronomy guy with a company called Wholeganics. We're doing some cool stuff with Wholeganics. 01:07 Chad's got two different products he's been using biologicals, and he is gonna talk to you about where he sees this going. 01:12 And I also want to get to the cumulative effect because that's a big point to be made. So Chad, you've got some cool stuff going on. I was in your field, 01:19 one of those, uh, rougher fields. It was flat, but uh, it's river bottom, ground and ground. And there's a, there's a corn, uh, field there, 01:28 and then you got some other stuff. So tell us about what you're doing with, uh, biologicals from organics. 01:34 So we started out using the 800 and it was, um, used in the cornfield. These guys come to me and say, Hey, we wanna test this. I, 01:42 I always ask the question, well, where do we wanna test it at? What kind of product are we looking at where we wanna test it? They said, well, 01:47 you know, we just need to put it on dirt as spot biology. I said, do you want good dirt or bad dirt? Like all my Alabama dirt's pretty bad dirt, 01:53 but how, what kind of dirt you want? I said, we want some rough stuff. I said, oh, I got you. I got you covered. Because nobody ever asked for that. 02:00 I got plenty of that. 'cause nobody's using. So anyway, we went down there and they got a good kick out of it, and we did. We put it on some ground. That's, that's, that's pretty rough. And it's, 02:08 it's definitely looking, looking good, you know, and obviously when it emerge, these guys was down, done some root pulls, you know, and, 02:16 and looked at the root system. You know, the corn was small, but, but it's definitely showing promise. 02:21 Yeah. So you put stuff in the time of planting with the corn, then you use another product that after you take off your wheat, you spray on. 02:29 And, and that's to, to help get rid of the fodder or make the nutrients more available. What's that product called? So, 02:34 So this the breakdown. So then on the breakdown we used it and we've come in there and sprayed behind our double crop beans and you know, 02:42 we've been chasing this double crop bean ride for, well hell all my life, you know, I've been chasing this and, 02:47 and we've always wanted to do a better job. You know, a lot of people focus on making corn or focus on making beans. Well, we can make some really good money if we can get a 80 or 90 bushel bean crop 02:57 wheat crop off and then come behind it, it with a 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 bushel bean crop. I mean, I'll put that math against anybody's. So, but the thing is, 03:06 I run out of time and we hit a pretty big wall around 50 to 55 bushel, 60 65 if irrigated. 03:12 So anything we could do to break down that wheat stubble and make it to where I get more nutrients available in that season, I'm all in on. 03:20 So that's where we got this product to play in the game at. Yeah, I like it. So Mike, what are you talking about doing here? 03:26 These are your two, your two flagship products and there's other biological companies that make something, uh, for meltdown, for breakdown. But the, 03:34 the 800 is kind of the, uh, in a category of its own, right? Yes. It's the diversity of the product. Uh, 03:43 what separates us from our competition is our diversity. We've got over 800 microbes in this product. We've got fungi, we've got, 03:52 uh, produce, we've got bacteria, we've got beneficial nematodes, we've got amoebas, 03:57 and then we've got a food source in there to help 'em get a good start. And they hit the ground running. We've got molasses, 04:04 we've got yucca plant extract, kelp extract, fulvic acid, humic acid and amino acids. 04:10 And this is the stuff that went in at time of planting. Uh, and he's experimenting with that. Uh, biologicals, 04:18 real quick question 'cause they're still new to a lot of people in ag and there's still a lot of skepticism. 04:22 Does this stuff need to be refrigerated to have a shelf life because of the living organisms in it? 04:26 Uh, yes. We, when we make the product, we d n a fingerprinted to make sure that we've got our 800 microbes that we say that are in there, uh, we send 'em off to a third party to get proved out. 04:38 Then we, uh, basically put it into cold storage and it stays in there at 37 degrees until the farmer orders it and we deliver it to the farmer or, 04:47 or to his custom applicator. And, uh, once it's there, we have a six to eight week shelf life. Uh, the product comes in a tote and it's got a cover over it that reflects the sun. 04:59 If it's out on a tender truck or we try to keep it in the shade, it can last even longer than the eight weeks. 05:05 The key is that those microbes are in stasis and that cold storage, they're not eating, but when they start to warm up, 05:12 they'll go to eating and we have to have a food source in there. And that's what extends it out. Uh, they, 05:20 So I had some down here and I had it in a tote, and when I got to the bottom of the tote, you know, I was, I had a little bit left over a few gallons. 05:26 I come back back two weeks later and they eat the bottom outta the tote. I'm just messing. We're gonna put a disclaimer on it right there. 05:33 I was gonna say, I'm, I'm not sure anybody want, nobody's gonna be sold on the whole idea of that. Alright, so answer to this. Um, one of the things that you've pointed out, and I I I I if we're, 05:42 if you've heard all these episodes, I'm sorry, but I think it's really worth mentioning that I never knew until I met these guys, the ratio between fungi and bacteria. 05:50 So you say that there needs to be more, most soils need more beneficial fungi. Does your product have the fungi or does your product make it so that the fungi 06:00 reproducing the soil? In other words, are you, or is it, is it adding or is it, um, enhancing? Uh, it's, uh, the, the creation 06:09 We are adding and we are enhancing. We basically bring, uh, 200 different gr uh, species of fungi. And, uh, 06:18 as far as I know, all our competitors out there, the most that anyone brings is one or two species. And most of the time it's a yeast which becomes more of a bio stimulant to 06:28 what's already out there in your soil. Mm-hmm. Uh, fungi is basically what helps to make a suppressive soil. Uh, it cuts down in pathogens. Uh, 06:38 we basically see a lot less disease pressure where our products use. And the fungi really helped that. Plus they, the fungi in the produce, 06:47 in this product helped to break down your p and k and your micros and your organic nitrogen that's tied up in your residue and your soil 06:56 minerals and, uh, soil organic matter. Cool. Now I know about worse, let's talk about the cumulative effect before we hit record on this. Uh, 07:04 Chad is, was skeptical. Like all of us in agriculture, uh, there's a time and he's old enough to remember when we thought, you know, 07:10 these biologicals, they, they, it's a, it's a neat idea, but gimme the proof. And so now he's says, no, I've been using different biologicals. 07:19 I see the effect, but it doesn't happen immediately. And I said, you know, if I, if I never used herbicide and my fields were full of weeds and I used herbicide, 07:27 I could see a tangible visible physical result immediately. Same thing. If I never used fertilizer, I can put out some fertilizer and by golly I'm gonna enhance yields. 07:37 You're not gonna see an immediate bump with a biological right, Chad? Well, it's, it's way, the way I look at it, uh, Damien, 07:46 it's a lot like using chicken litter. We've been using chicken litter a long time. You know, in the first year you start using it, 07:51 you're looking for this old massive qualm of, you know, I put this out in my field and it's all better. And, and did you see results? And you can see from it, you know, um, when we've done this, 08:01 we could make a root dig and we could see the 800, we could see root on this side being one thing and root on this side being the other. But the full effect of eight hundreds is still to come. You know, 08:11 it's like by the third year, your chicken litter, you know, you can definitely see things changing in your soil, you know, and so this, 08:17 this product is, we'll, I hope to stay in trials with 'em that long, that we'll, we can put it in the same spot and put it in different spots and keep it going 08:25 for, for a longer amount of time, you know, to prove this theory. So one of the things about the chicken litter is, and I sat in a session, 08:33 I've brought it up a number of times. I sat in a session once from an alleged agronomist who said it was impossible to increase organic matter in our lifetime. 08:40 And I didn't think that seemed reasonable. I didn't think that it went against all of my f f a soil judging. Organic matter will increase with five years, 10 years, 08:50 30 years of chicken litter. Am I right? Yeah. Well, just anything, I mean, I mean, I've increased ours from the days that we put, we put cotton in, 08:58 we've increased it on our farm, you know, we used to be cotton and we'd have a threequarter, a half threequarter to 1% organic matter. You know, 09:05 now all our farms is anywhere from two five to three five. Mm-hmm. You know, and, but it's took me 15 years and putting a lot of ground, you know, 09:13 everybody says, oh, you must have done a lot of, oh, you must've not done cover crops. No. You must have done a lot of no-till. No, but we put out, we did work the ground up, we done some strip tilling, 09:22 but we put all that material back into the ground. Mm-hmm. You start growing 250, 300 bushel corn, putting that back into ground, 09:29 you start growing wheat and beans, putting it back in the ground in one season, you're, you put that material back in the ground, something's gotta give. 09:37 Yeah. So can you make the case that biologicals will also aid in the increase of organic matter? Oh, it's going to speed this process up. I mean, 09:47 that's what we have to have is the bi, bi, bi. You Biologicals, biologicals, Biologicals. Thank you. You got it. You got it. 09:55 You have to have that to get this process going. Well, in our season, we have, we have such a long season with the temperatures down here that we can keep that 10:02 process going. That was what I was worried about with us being in the south. Did we need these products. We have warm seasons. 10:09 Our corn stubble turns black in a week's time. Why do I need to speed this up any, but I can only get so far with what I've got. 10:17 So you take this product and it really enhances and keeps me and goes a lot further than what I dreamed we could do. 10:24 Yeah. So Mike, I guess the question is, you know, on the organic matter front, uh, I if, if he's, 10:31 he's been increasing organic matter just through practice and chicken litter and some of those things is bio, 10:37 it's a biological product going to help you. 'cause one of your measurements you do, which I thought was really cool, was bulk density, meaning you went out and you could tell me, 10:47 and I don't know the numbers, but the point is it's relative. Meaning if it used to be this bulk density you want it to be, 10:54 you want there to be less bulk density because it creates airspace, airspace and water space, 10:59 which then will allow the breakdown of stuff to increase organic matter. So really one goes with the other, am I right? 11:06 Yes, that's correct. It ba basically gets oxygen and water to infiltrate and that speeds everything up. And you know, 11:14 with time that organic matter can be broken down and uh, turned, you know, into more nutrients. And with the products, 11:23 some biologicals can do this and others can't. And then the ones that are diverse that have the fungi and the produce in 'em, they're the ones that can do that. 11:33 And we've got farms that have had the product on for over six years and they've increased their organic matter, a full percentage point. 11:40 They're even to be, they're even beginning to change their CECs. And you can do that in five years to six years. 11:48 Yes. All right. So let's talk about the cumulative effect. You talked about chicken litter and now you're talking about biologicals. 11:54 Are we gonna look back someday and say, you know, it's the old thing. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. Are we gonna look back and say, 12:01 Chad Henderson's gonna say, man, I'm in my fifties. I wish like heck, I was using this stuff back when I was in my twenties because I see the 12:07 cumulative effect, Chad. Oh yes. I thought it was, I thought it was to Mike. I'm sorry. Yes, yes. It's definitely something, you know, you know, 12:17 but we come across those things 'cause you know, you look at what my granddaddy done to what my dad done, to what we've done, we're still getting better, you know, 12:24 with technology's brought to us and we're still getting better. And that's what I think us as farmers, you know, 12:29 we're always prone to do that because we're the only one making a living off of the land, you know, so we're going to be the, 12:35 the one to try to push this envelope and, and strive to do better with the soil. And this is the next step in doing that. 12:41 Let's talk about those. You, you've referenced a number of times, Mike, the Dakota places that have been using, uh, 12:47 a biological from you for five years, six years. What is the cumulative effect? Tell me where the, what numbers moved. Organic matter you said was already up front, you know, by a point, 12:56 which is a big deal, you know, when, when, so that's that. What else I'm gonna, before I get off of that, I wanna say, you know, 13:05 one percentage point of organic matter, we'll give you the holding capacity of 25,000 gallons of water per acre. You know, that can give you an extra week of holding on, 13:17 waiting for another week when we've been stressed out, you know, like we have all across the Midwest. So it's very important. 13:23 One point working at it matter. We'll give you an increase in holding capacity of moisture by 25. So that's about, uh, that's about, uh, one inch, that's about inch. One inch, 13:32 yeah, it's about an inch, right? Yeah. Okay. That's, that's, that's big especially in dry times. Okay. Cumulative effect. 13:38 What numbers are you seeing rise besides organic matter, which is huge, Uh, more p and k release from the soil, uh, 13:46 the organic matter, uh, increasing as well. Cc uh, increasing slowly. That's a just very rare can you do that. But, uh, then more nitrogen available to the plant, 14:00 more micros available to the plant. Uh, it basically will also help your soil porosity. You'll be able to get more water infiltrated into your soils quicker. And, uh, 14:12 by having all that organic matter, you'll hold your soils better. Yeah. So it's kind of a tough sell. Uh, you know, you gotta to Chad, 14:21 he is gotta make a, he is gotta make the payments. Now, uh, when you say be patient, this doesn't necessarily, you know, 14:29 happen overnight. It is, it is a tough deal. You know, we're not bred to be patient people like, you know, look at our attention spans and the microwave, uh, you know, society 14:40 U usually though we're also paying our way, we'll usually see a return on your money the very first, you know, it, uh, doesn't always happen that way, but, uh, 14:51 a high percentage of our growers get enough money to pay for the product year one. 14:56 Yeah. Well that it, so it needs, needs to at least be a break even. So Chad, when you look at this, uh, you know, the cumulative effect, 15:04 you do have to be patient. You also have to make it make sense. Is, is there anything else I'm missing here? Uh, 15:09 because there's gonna be a whole bunch of people that are gonna say, you know what, I, I'm not sure I'm, uh, I'm not in on this. 15:13 I don't have five years. Well, you know, you, you're looking at it from, from, from a different mindset. You know, am I gonna go out here and put, put this on my crop? Um, 15:25 okay, let's look at this way. You know, I'm down here in urban sprawl, right? Yep. Then why would I want to go use that, right? 15:31 Why would I wanna go use that when I, when I could have a housing development there next year, right? Right. It's the same thing with fertility. If I don't go put fertility on it, 15:39 I can't really make it get more fertility, but if I use this, a product like this or this kind of product instead of fertility, 15:46 then I can make the fertility. I have more available there. Does that make sense? 15:52 You, and you and I recorded something about that is, uh, you, you and I did a recording, dear listeners, 15:56 you should go and listen to it or watch it because we talked about using fertility for this season, 16:01 not trying to build it for the long haul because it's gonna be a subdivision. And he, he does have that there on the outskirts of Huntsville. Um, organics, 16:09 I mean the biologicals like organics. You could also make the same case if it's something that you, you know, if the developer tells you, yeah, go ahead and plant it, 16:16 but we might very well start putting in, uh, cul-de-sacs, uh, next month you're not probably gonna use a biological 'cause you ain't got time. 16:25 But, but like I said, but I'm using biological to get a, to get every ounce of fertilizer I can outta that zone. Okay? So 16:31 It does make sense. Yeah. So the cumulative effect isn't gonna matter because it's gonna be turned into concrete, uh, and, and housing additions, 16:39 but it matters to whatever last bit of fertility is there. You can use a biological to extract. Yep. 16:47 See that's when we would pull out the 800, we put the 800 in the furrow or out herbicide, and we would try to really work on that band and make our root system the best 16:55 as it can to get out to the, all the fertility we have. Got it. What do you tell people, uh, when you're, uh, when you're telling 'em about these cumulative effect? 17:03 You got some good stories. I've, I've heard you reference the Dakota thing. What's, you know, there I am, I'm at Commodity Classic, and everybody, 17:10 you walk down the waha of Commodity Classic and Air be, will give you three to five more bushels, right? I made the point. I don't even need to, I don't even need to farm. 17:17 I don't even need to have a combine. I'm just gonna walk through Commodity Classic and I'm gonna pick up three to five bushels in every booth. And by the time I'm at the end of the hallway, 17:23 I'm gonna have 300 bushels. Anyways, my dad told me that. My dad said, my dad said he walked down the aisle. He said, you don't have to do nothing. He said, 17:29 all you can do is walk down through here. We made 500. Actually, I, I, I made the, I I said it was my joke. Actually, I stole it from Mike Henderson. Uh, anyway, 17:38 so tell him I'm stealing his material. Okay, so answer me this. What is your pitch? Uh, Mike, it's, it's a, it's a tough one, uh, because you, 17:46 you know, most people don't like the idea. It's a long-term investment, really is what you're talking about. 17:51 It's an investment, it's a journey. Uh, but we say if you, if you take the journey with us, you will see it. We've got proof, 17:58 we've got testimonials. We can put you in touch with farmers that are doing it. Uh, but we come out, we test, we can show you that we're moving the needle, 18:06 you know, we're doing the biome test. We can do a test before you start with the product, kind of get a baseline where you're at to see what ratios you do have of 18:15 bacteria to fungi. Then, you know, within two weeks, three weeks to a month, we start moving the needle. You know, we, we get quicker emergence, 18:24 quicker germination, uh, better rooting, uh, we make a suppressive soil, uh, cuts down in your pathogens. Guys that have white mold issues and stuff like that where they're using our 18:35 product have seen right to the row where they didn't have it. Uh, the benefits of it. So we do a lot of different things. 18:42 We check a lot of different boxes. Uh, but it's, it's there. It really is. You know, it, it works. Uh, 18:50 sometimes you have to take a leap of faith, but we've got enough, uh, data with it now that, you know, we know it works. You just gotta try it. 19:00 Jen, you get us outta here. You're, you got the last statement, biologicals, cumulative effect. 19:07 Just look for the place on your farm. You know, whether it, whether it's, like I said, 19:11 in a farm that you don't have next year and you're trying to use it to get every ounce of fertility you've got left, 19:16 whether you need it in the furrow or whether you need it as a breakdown, there's an area for it on your farm, you know, 19:22 and just be open-minded about the way you're gonna use it and, and how it's going to determine and what you're looking for out of the product. 19:30 That's it. Alright. We're talk about the cumulative effect of, of biological treatment. And it is kind of a neat thing. 19:36 I think that Chad made the great statement. When you say it's, it's like chicken litter, you're not gonna see, you're not gonna, 19:40 you're not gonna see fireworks in that first year, but over time, you're gonna see an absolute, uh, improvement of your soil, 19:46 which of course is improving your assets. And, you know, you might ask the question, 19:50 should I be using this on rented ground or should I just only use this on the acres I own? But you made a pretty good case there. 19:55 It helps you get the fertility out of it. So, I mean, you should probably use this, should consider using this on all acres, not just, not just owned acres, right? 20:05 It can be used on any acre. I mean, I can see it a, a case on any which, which way. Yeah. 20:10 Got it. His name's Chad Henderson. My name's Damian Mason. We're, uh, joined by Mike Batson, who's with Organics. 20:15 You wanna learn more about Wholeganics and start your journey, uh, for the long haul. Uh, you can go to, uh, and, uh, 20:22 we appreciate you being here. By the way, hundreds and hundreds of these episodes that I have produced also hundreds and hundreds of videos that guys like Chad have produced out in the field. 20:30 It's an extreme ag farm. It's all there free for you. Share it with somebody that can benefit from it. Take it back to their farming operat. Until next time, thanks for being here. 20:37 It's extreme ags cutting the curve. That's a wrap for this episode of Cutting the Curve, but there's plenty more. Check out Extreme Ag Farm where you can find past episodes, 20:48 instructional videos and articles to help you squeeze more profit outta your farm. Cutting the curve is brought to you by Advanced Drainage Systems, 20:58 the leader in agriculture, water management solutions.

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