Home' Grower : October 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- October 2011
By JOHN NORTON
HUMATES are the most exciting input
for the increase of productivity and
profitability in agriculture since the
advent of commercial nitrogen.
What began as a critical tool in biological
agriculture has rapidly become an essential
performance enhancer in all types of grow-
What is all the noise about and should you
be investigating this strategy?
This article may ser ve to summarise some
of the many benefits of humates and hope-
fully inspire you to trial these inputs if you
are not already using them.
Fifty years of scientific research has quanti-
fied the multiple benefits of humates
derived from brown coal.
Professor William Jackson has chronicled
some of this research in his 1000 page, award
winning book Organic Soil Conditioning.
Humates have been shown to be a highly
productive input in all forms of agriculture,
stock health management and environmen-
If we consider the attributes of humus in the
soil we find that the long list of benefits direct-
ly parallels the benefits of humates. Humus
provides pH buffering, increased heavy metal
and toxin tolerance, moisture retention,
microbe stimulation and support, soil structure
improvement and improved nutrient uptake.
Global heating and peak oil have high-
lighted the vulnerability of an agricultural
system based upon petrochemicals and easi-
ly influenced by weather extremes.
Humates are a multifaceted tool that
addresses both situations. Humic acid is the
most powerful stimulant of the beneficial
fungi that build humus.
This all-important inter vention in the car-
bon cycle traps and stores CO2 that was
other wise destined for the atmosphere.
If you have yet to discover the many ben-
efits of humates, you are in for a real treat.
Trial a small area and monitor the response.
We have never encountered a single grow-
er who trialled the combination of humic
acid with either DAP or Urea, who does not
still use these products together.
• Combine humic acid and fulvic acid
together for root crops. We have always
favoured humic acid for crops like pota-
toes, carrots, beetroot and sweet potato
but we have recently found an increased
response when these two natural acids are
• Put small amounts of humic acid in irri-
gation water as there is recent evidence
that this can structure water to increase
plant utilisation. It is suggested that your
water can become more responsive much
like the effect of "melted" water which
retains the crystalline structure of the ice
from which it is derived. The Alaskan
growing season is just 10 weeks long and
yet they can produce cabbages so large
they must be wheel-barrowed into the
• Use fulvic acid with legumes. An applica-
tion of fulvic acid can create swards of
clover in pasture as long as there has been
a previous history of this legume.
• Combine humic acid with liquid lime. It
has been found that combining Life-
Lime? with humic acid as a foliar can
sponsor the release of CO2 from the car-
bonates in this micronised, liquid, calcium
carbonate. The CO2 then increases pho-
tosynthesis which, in turn, increases yield.
• Use fulvic acid to substitute for sunlight.
If it has been overcast for days and plants
are faltering, then try a foliar application
of fulvic acid. For reasons unknown (at
this stage) this remarkable natural acid
ser ves to substitute for sunlight and pho-
tosynthesis continues despite the grey
I have summarised some of the many ben-
efits but there are actually many more and I
strongly advise you to experiment for your-
self with these amazing materials.
Details: Bio-Tech Organics 08 8380 8554 or John
Norton on 0412 305 158.
Research quantifies multiple benefits
Improvement of nutrient uptake
Fulvic acid fires phosphate-solubilising
AT A GLANCE
Fifty years of scientific research has quantified the multiple benefits of humates derived from
brown coal. Prof William Jackson has chronicled some of this research in his 1000-page,
award-winning book Organic Soil Conditioning.
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