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                                          By Norman Wilson, Ph.D.

In the last edition of Vital News I reviewed ViTech ViBasic. ViBasic is ViTech’s premier soil product and we discussed how ViBasic forms the foundation for a high production crop management program. I emphasized the impact that ViBasic can have on soil health, water management, and seed bed quality.  I noted that ViBasic stimulates soil microbial activity, breaks down old crop residue, buffers salts, and works to restructure problem soils. We talked about how better soil tilth, aeration, and water holding capacity can improve planting conditions and help ensure quick uniform germination, emergence, and stand establishment.

OK, you applied ViBasic early in the season to help keep your soil healthy and working, you planted into a good seed bed, stands are good, you just got a rain, and the crop looks great. You might ask yourself, what next? Can ViBasic do anything more to help my crop grow, develop, and produce the yield and income I need? The answer is an emphatic yes. Let me explain why I can give such a quick answer.

Remember the “foundation” we established by treating the soil early in the season with ViBasic? The momentum generated by that foundation will help your crop cope with stresses from adverse weather, salts, herbicides, moisture stress, and insect and disease pressure all season long. A good strong start will even be obvious at harvest as the crop matures quickly, uniformly, and with the quality you expect. As a good manager or consultant, your job doesn’t end with a good stand. You will closely monitor your crop during the growing season, fine tune inputs, and make any necessary adjustment to fit your crops specific needs.

An important feature of ViBasic and one that we may overlook is its ability to “complex” plant nutrients. When ViBasic is applied to the soil, it interacts with mineral nutrients to form more stable organic compounds that remain readily available for plant uptake and use. Your crops ability to use that expensive “available” fertilizer investment is very much dependent upon the activity of ViBasic. So how does that work? Well, the secret is in the carbon or more precisely organic carbon compounds (poly carbons). ViBasic contains these long chain poly carbons and Bio-activity stimulated by ViBasic generates a lot more. Organic complexing is nature’s method of protecting plant nutrients from loss and maintaining them in an available form in the root zone. As an example, soil humus organically complexes mineral nutrients and serves as a reservoir of available nutrients. Plants can take up complexed nutrients directly in the organic form or in the mineral form as they are slowly released during the growing season.

Fertilizer efficiency is very much dependent upon conditions within the soil environment.

Nitrate and Sulfate fertilizers can volatilize from the soil or leach out of the root zone. Phosphate fertilizers can chemically react with calcium and magnesium compounds in the soil to become unavailable. Potassium reacts physically with clay particles to reduce availability. The availability of several micro nutrients is adversely affected by either low or high soil pH. ViBasic can influence all of these factors contributing to poor fertilizer efficiency. The bottom line is that ViBasic helps you get more from your fertilizer dollar. ViBasic makes your fertilizer work harder.

In order to improve fertilizer efficiency and crop response, many top producers use split fertilizer applications and apply at least a portion of their fertilizer during the growing season. Applying additional ViBasic with fertilizer during the growing season is an excellent opportunity to increase fertilizer efficiency and stimulate the soil biological system. Application of ViBasic at this time is especially important in situations where sodium salt remediation is a goal. The same nutrient complexing reactions that I described for the soil will also take place in the fertilizer. Application with irrigation water is convenient and effective but side dressing, top dressing, and foliar applications can also be used. The type of crop, stage of development, soil type, and weather may dictate type of fertilizer used but remember any fertilizer works better with ViBasic.