HUMIC SUBSTANCES BEGIN AND END WITH CARBON
Humic substances offer a significant benefit to soil fertility and crop yield. Understanding humic substances and how they benefit plant growth starts with understanding carbon.
CARBON: THE FORGOTTEN CROP NUTRIENT
All life is carbon-based. Carbon plays an essential role in building blocks of all life. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They use water and sunlight to create carbon-rich organic compounds required for metabolism and healthy plant growth. They turn the carbon into leaves, stems, seeds and roots.
The Earth’s soils contain about 2,500 gigatons of carbon—that’s more than three times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and four times the amount stored in all living things. The best-kept secret in agronomics is that carbon is the most important crop nutrient after water. If crop soil is carbon deficient, crop yields will suffer even with ever-increasing applications of fertilizers and herbicides.
Carbon has a unique capacity to modify itself and combine with other elements to form shorter and longer carbon chains, rings, and complex organic compounds. About 70% of soil organic matter is humus, a brown to black organic, carbon-containing compound that is slow to decompose and can persist in the soil for several hundred years.
HUMUS: ORGANIC CARBON-CHAIN COMPLEXES
The humic substances that make up humus are relatively large organic carbon-chain complexes that are composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur. These humic substances, can be divided into three major categories: humin, humic acids (HAs), and fulvic acids (FAs).
Humins are large molecules not soluble in water at any pH level and are very slow to break down. Within soil, humin improves structure, water-holding capacity, and stability.
Humic acids have a smaller molecular size than humins and are soluble in water under alkaline conditions. Other elements easily bind to humic acid molecules in a form that can be quickly absorbed by plants and microorganisms.
Fulvic acids have molecules that are smaller than humic acids are water soluble at all pH levels and have a higher oxygen content. Fulvic acids can easily enter plant roots, stems, and leaves, transporting trace minerals directly to metabolic sites in plant cells.
AGRONOMIC BENEFITS OF HUMIC SUBSTANCES
Long-term soil health can be greatly improved through proper tillage, soil husbandry, crop management, and the addition of organic materials for the natural production of humic substances. For a shorter-term solution, application of humic and fulvic acids to the soil will boost soil health and production. For an immediate boost to a crop already in the field, foliar application of carbon-carried liquid nutrition at specific growth stages will provide the grower with precision control of crop yield and quality.
There are a number of commercial versions of humic and fulvic acids available for agricultural use. These are sold as dry granular products, liquid products or powders. They are usually derived from humates, oxidized lignites or leonardite ore. Studies show that the various products can vary in effectiveness depending on the nature of the source materials used and the manner in which they are manufactured and processed.
GROWPLEX® is a concentrated water-soluble powder that includes humic acids and freshwater carbon. When applied throughout the year, GROWPLEX® provides several key benefits that can help increase crop yields and improve plant health. They include
- Increased nutrient uptake
- Buffering of toxins
- Improved water retention
- Enhanced microbial activity
- Minimized plant stress
For nearly thirty years, GROWPLEX® has provided consistent results in countless field and research trials. The product’s source – the Menefee Formation in northwest New Mexico is one of the richest sources of humic acid on Earth. The finished product is clean, consistent and highly compatible with fertilizer blends.
For more information, visit Simplot at https://go.simplot.com/GROWPLEX or call 800-635-9444.