What can Humates do for my crops?
In grade school, we learn that matter can be neither created nor destroyed....it just changes form. Carbon is one of those elements that exists in all forms of life...that's why it is used to pinpoint the age of fossils and ancient ruins....that's the process of carbon dating. Humates, which are composed of various forms of carbon, are naturally occurring material that is very rich in humified organic matter and humic substances.
Humates are now recognized as the single most productive input in sustainable agriculture. They consist of humic and fulvic acid along with the raw humates (prehistoric plant matter) from which these powerful natural acids are derived. Humic acid is a powerful fungi promotant. Beneficial fungi (including mycorrhizal fungi) are the missing link in many soils. It stabilizes nitrogen and improves nitrogen efficiency, thereby making it an ideal additive with urea. Humic acid complexes phosphate to reduce lock-ups and, as such, is also an ideal additive with diammonium phosphate (DAP) and monammonium phosphate (MAP). Humates are the only known substance with the ability to hold onto every other nutrient in the soil which enables heightened nutrient absorption. Humates contain an auxin-like growth promotant that can enhance cell division and elongation. In addition, they increase the permeability of plant cells to increase nutrient uptake by up to 40 %.
Soils that have been on conventional programs may contain excessive elements, heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Humates serve to buffer the effects of these substances, especially sodium, to lessen their stress effect on your crop.
Humates are a cost-effective and multi-purpose tool that have the ability to do all that we have named. They also have pH buffering capacity to help neutralize the problems associated with pH extremes. With a CEC of 450, humates also aid in moisture and nutrient retention and improve soil structure by promoting fungi to create a crumb structure for better water and oxygen intake and improved root penetration.
Research identifies components of humic substances based upon their solubility in water as follows:
Fulvic acid: soluble at any pH, smallest molecular weight, dominant in O.
Humic acid: soluble at pH > 2, medium molecular weight, balance in O and C.
Humin: insoluble at any pH, largest molecular weight, dominant in C.
Of these, humic and fulvic acids are the more effective components. Research shows that the presence of humic substances in soil will increase soil water retention, provide available carbon to soil, promote growth of living cells (auxin-like type of hormone), chelate cations in soil (high cation exchange capacity), and solubilize hydrocarbons into water phase (similar to a surfactant).
Humic substances are safe to the environment and all living organisms. A carbon source can be used as a soil amendment, foliar spray and fertilizer enhancer to boost crop production, strengthen root development and improve soil quality. It can also be used as a flushing agent for hydrocarbon components in soil and as a microbial growth promoter for soil remediation and waste treatment in manure pits.
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