Value-Added Fertilizer… Crop Yield Enhancement. Five Year Trial at Jim Brubaker’s 600-Acre Swine Farm

At the recent World Hog Expo in Iowa, one of the largest CVFF Contract Growers, Jim Brubaker, reported his experience using Microbe-Lift over the last five years in his deep pit barns on his 600-acre farm, and was extremely pleased with the results he has seen with Microbe-Lift.

He reported that Microbe-Lift completely eliminated problems with the surface and bottom solids in his deep pits (500,000/gal/pits) eliminated almost all the odour in the barns and significantly lowered odours when applying the treated manure to his farm land, while reducing flies which he attributed to the improved health of his swine.

However these were not the only benefits, as he closely monitors his crop yields and realized that he had increased corn production from 120 bushels per acre, to 180 per acre from the land treated with Microbe-Lift manure. Jim said that this was a significant benefit, generating more than enough increased income to cover the treatment program. In addition he tracked the nitrogen content of the soil and found that Microbe-Lift helped stabilized and fix the nitrogen for a much longer period of the crop cycle. He is working with a University at this time to further document the specific mechanisms involved, but the benefits are clear today.

In simple terms, the University is studying Microbe-Lift to more fully understand and document how its biological cultures help the natural process in establishing a bio-mass that breaks down the organic waste in the manure pits, convert the solids into cell structure. The microorganisms require nutrients for their cell synthesis and growth. In this process they actually store the nutrient which allows the nutrients to remain available to the plants over a much longer period of time, as well as allows the microbes to attach to soil and carbon (organic) matter lowering nutrient loss through run-off and oxidation.

The results of Land-Farming with Microbe-Lift were incredible. First, there was no odour during pumping, transportation and spreading (spraying) the fields. Obviously this made everyone quite happy, as there had been many complaints from the Community in the past. But what made the Farmers even happier was the impact on Crop Yields, at harvest they had a 50% increase…increasing from 120 to 180 bushels of corn per acre! Therefore, what was going to be a cost of business…treating the manure pits…was now a profit centre that more than paid for the treatment with increased Crop Yield.

As we begin to understand the dynamics of the process, we can postulate on how the IND produces a significantly better “Value-Added Fertilizer”. The first thing to realize is that the manufactured fertilizers being used by most Farmers are water soluble and therefore more prone to runoff and pollute rivers and streams.  Bottom-line, if you have a water soluble fertilizer and you have a heavy rain, the water will solubilize and carry the fertilizer off.

The basics bio-chemical mechanics focus on the fact that nitrogen can exist in several forms: inorganic nitrogen including ammonia nitrogen, nitrite nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen; and organic nitrogen which includes proteins, amines, amino acids, and a myriad of other organic nitrogen compounds that are not of great importance to us in agriculture like thiocyanate, etc.

Swine waste contains a lot of metabolic breakdown products that contain nitrogen including many of the ones mentioned above, both organic and inorganic.  In the process of treating with IND a lot of the inorganic nitrogen will be converted to cell protein through what is known as assimilatory

nitrogen removal thus eliminating much of the free ammonia.  At the same time, some of the organic nitrogen bearing breakdown products in the manure will be further broken down to free ammonia and other inorganic nitrogen compounds through ammonification.  This will end up also getting converted to cell protein through assimilatory nitrogen removal, just like the inorganic nitrogen compounds that were there at the start.  Ultimately, some of the inorganic nitrogen compounds may be converted to nitrogen gas through denitrification, but the majority will be converted to cellular protein.

These cellular proteins contain nitrogen that will be released slowly as some of the cells go endogenous and begin to lyse, releasing a lot of their building blocks.  This could take several weeks for mineralization of the cell mass to occur.  This form is not readily water soluble so it does not run off if there is a heavy rain.  In many cases, the bacterial activity in the soil, combined with the release of nitrogen provides nutrients to the crops that can be readily assimilated and not burn the plants.