Posts Tagged ‘Fertilizer’

Understanding soil quality: Part 5

Posted on: November 12th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

Last week we discussed the harmful effects of unhealthy soil and what that could mean to us as human beings. And the findings were quite frightening.

So this week we will discuss our only hope for a healthy world as noted by an eminent French scientist and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alexis Carrel. He published a book nearly 102 years ago titled Man the Unknown, which discusses that since soil is the basis for all human life, our only hope for a healthy world rests on re-establishing the harmony in the soil.

Dr. Alexis Carrel

Dr. Alexis Carrel

Today soils are tired, overworked, depleted, sick, and poisoned by synthetic chemicals. Hence the quality of food has suffered and so has health. Malnutrition begins with the soil. Buoyant human health depends on wholesome food, and this can only come from fertile and productive soils. Minerals in the soil, said Carrel, control the metabolism of cells in plant, animal, and man. Chiefly destroying the harmony reigning among mineral substances present in small amounts of air, water, food, but most importantly in soil, creates diseases.

If soil is deficient in trace elements, food and water will be equally deficient.

Carrel found that chemical fertilizers can’t restore soil fertility. They do not work on the soil but are enforcedly absorbed by plants, poisoning both plant and soil. Only organic humus makes for life.

Plants are great intermediaries by which the elements in rocks, converted by microorganisms into humus, can be made available to animal and man to be built into flesh, bone, and blood. Chemical fertilizers, on the contrary, can neither add to the humus content of soil nor replace it. They destroy its physical properties, and therefore its life. When chemical fertilizers are put into the soil they dissolve and seek natural combination with minerals already present. New combinations glut or overload the plant causing it to become unbalanced. Others remain in the soil; many in the forms of poisons.

Plants, said Carrel, that are chemically fertilized may look lush, but lush growth produces watery tissues, which become more susceptible to disease; and the protein quality suffers. Chemical fertilizers, said Carrel, by increasing the abundance of crops without repaving all the elements exhausted from the soil, have contributed to changing the nutritive value of our cereals.

Please note as this is our last installment in this particular series, we realize some of these stories began years ago, but we feel they still have a lot of value when looking at soil quality as it affects the circle of life. What other questions do you have regarding soil quality?

Until next time, happy trails!

Understanding soil quality: Part 4

Posted on: November 5th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold 1 Comment

To date we’ve learned that healthy soil leads to healthy vegetation, healthy animals, and healthy people.

But what if the soil isn’t healthy? How would that effect us, the animals, the vegetation?

Well, we’re about to find out. Nearly half a century ago, a man by the name of Andre Voisin authored a book “Soil, Grass & Cancer” which showed that soil fertility was directly linked to human and animal disease. He had already grasped the importance of the subterranean world and saw the hidden danger in oversimplified fertilization practices and the use of toxic chemicals.

Andre Voisin

It all started when Andre found that grass made it possible to obtain a ‘biochemical photograph’ of the soil when he was working with the Academy of Agriculture of France. He was then able to see that the mineral elements of the soil control cell metabolism in the animal and consequently in people too. It was found that the ‘dusts’ of the soil likewise control the proper functioning of the cells in man.

What must never be forgotten is that diseases are created chiefly by destruction of the harmony existing between the soil elements. The great tragedy of modern techniques is the complete disruption of this harmony by new cultural methods. It is up to us the farmers, the agronomists, the researchers, the scientists to figure out how to reestablish the harmony in the soil.

With that said, Andre writes (in his book):

“Increasing human population and the enormous pressure being exerted by organized masses of city-dwellers on powerless agricultural communities are gradually reducing the agricultural population which is forced constantly to increase its output, producing more food more cheaply, without any thought for its biological values. This result can be achieved only by the use of ever-greater quantities of mineral chemical fertilizers. It is impossible to go back, and it would be undesirable, as has been shown above by the many examples of the beneficial effect that fertilizer dressings can exert on the plant and on the animal. The fertilizer, however, must be applied judiciously which is not at present. Today, indeed, three times as much of all the elements in the soil is being removed, but generally only four, or at the most seven, of these elements are being replaced.”

The consequences of applying large quantities of nitrogenous fertilizers are serious, but when one works with the soil to produce healthy crops, that is when the highest yields could be reached.

Join us next week as we discuss our only hope for a healthy world as noted by eminent French scientist and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alexis Carrel.

Until next time, happy trails!

Harvest update

Posted on: October 28th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

The fields are still buzzing with activity…

Want to achieve even higher yields next year? The next season starts now with Residuce. The rapid breakdown of this year’s crop residue through live microbes can reduce your 2015 fertilizer costs. And don’t forget Myco Seed Treat (MST) if you’re planting a cover crop.

Until next time, happy trails!

30+ years of experience…

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

What does that get you? Low cost, high yield farming.

And some pretty outstanding products.

How many of you believe the only way to handle residue is to bury it? The deeper the better?

That’s what we thought too 30 some years ago, but over time we began to notice the long-term ramifications of that practice such as soil erosion that was taking place, even on the deep, dark prairie soils with 2% and 3% slope.

Using Residuce to recycle your 2014 crop residues can reduce your 2015 fertilizer costs with live microbes that break down crop residues. The proof is in the picture -- Residuce used on right.

Using Residuce to recycle your 2014 crop residues can reduce your 2015 fertilizer costs with live microbes that break down crop residues. The proof is in the picture — Residuce used on right.

We found that no-till worked well on the lighter soils and in more rolling situations, but not so much on the poorly drained, dark soils. When residue was buried deep into the soil and had been turned into an anaerobic zone, it appeared to undergo a pickling process instead of a decomposition process that produces nutrients for the next year’s crop. We now attempt to keep that crop residue in the aerobic zone.

Dave Larson used to say if the aerobic zone is deep in a given soil, deep tillage is acceptable. If it is only 2-3 inches, however, you need to work the residue into only the top 2-3 inches.

Think about it. Where does a fence post rot off? It always seems to be where the air and soil are mixed — the aerobic zone. Therefore that must be the point where the greatest amount of rot or decomposition takes place. We feel that an ideal system of residue management is one that incorporate the trash shallow in that aerobic zone and incorporates Residuce.

We have experimented with several tillage tools including disc chisels and heavy discs. They all work well. Crop residue is broken up and incorporated relatively shallow where maximum aerobic decomposition can take place. In a transition period, a stalk shredder can work well by creating smaller pieces with a lot of surface area for microbes to work on.

How about you? Have you had success using Residuce? How about specific tillage practices?

Until next time, happy trails!

Farm Favorite Friday: Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Posted on: October 10th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold 2 Comments

Because we can only talk so much about soil health, biological farming, and organic farming… welcome to the first installment of Farm Favorite Friday.

Farm Favorite Friday is about you! We want to share our favorite aspects of farm life and we want to hear your’s too. Each Friday, we will feature somebody new. You can share a video, pictures, memories, recipes, lessons learned — anything that makes the farm life unique to you.

And of course if you blog, we can link-up with each other. 🙂

So to get things started I’m going to kick off this series with my top secret apple cinnamon muffin recipe. Seriously, this is the ONE treat my farmer BEGS for each harvest season in the combine.

Farm wives/girlfriends/daughters listen up. Men, take notes if you want to impress.

First off I firmly believe the quality of an apple cinnamon muffin starts with a really knowledgable farmer who has learned how to grow a really good apple. I use apples from Christ Orchard located near Elmwood, Illinois. In my personal opinion, the Christ family have mastered the art of a really good apple. They seem to have that down to an exact science using various types of fertilizers.

So without further adieu, here is the recipe I haven’t shared with anyone until now. You’re welcome.


They even seemed to be a hit in the office.

They even seemed to be a hit in the office.

Yields 12 muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups diced apples
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Toss together diced apples.
  • Cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs. Mix in vanilla.
  • Gently stir in flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir until combined. Stir in diced apples and scoop mixture into muffin tins. Fill about 2/3 or 3/4 the way full.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.

And this my friends is one of my farm favorites.

So who wants to share next week?

Until next time, happy trails!