Hefty Naturals Research with Glenn Herz

My job at Hefty’s is take new products and prove whether or not they can make you money. Here are some of the things that have advanced enough in our research program that they are now widely sold by Hefty Seed Company, but I’m continuing to try to help fine-tune our recommendations with this year’s trials.

N-Hydro & Boost-10
  • N-Hydro contains four strains of bacteria that primarily work with fixation of nitrogen within plants, but we have also seen some benefits with phosphorus.
  • N-Hydro is compatible with most fungicides, fertilizer, and insecticides, so we are doing further testing on the best potential application timings. Right now, a lot of farmers are experimenting with it post-emerge in corn, soybeans, and wheat.
  • Boost-10 contains more than 30 organic and amino acids. These types of compounds promote production of chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Visually, your plant becomes a darker green and is more efficient at using the energy from the sun.
  • Boost-10 appears to improve plant metabolism and nutrient movement within the plant, leading to more natural resistance to stress.
    When applying N-Hydro together with Boost-10, we have observed a promising synergistic effect on yield that we are working to replicate in trials this year.
Water getting loaded into a sprayer. Your water may have contaminants that prevent your products from working properly. Correcting these problems is likely more simple and inexpensive than you think.

Water getting loaded into a sprayer. Your water may have contaminants that prevent your products from working properly. Correcting these problems is likely more simple and inexpensive than you think.

Micro-Cycle
  • Contains six strains of bacteria to solubilize phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and silica.
  • While we have seen benefits in all soil types, the solubilizers present in this product appear to provide the best results in high pH ground.
  • This is typically applied in-furrow as a soil amendment, but we are testing to see if we can observe similar benefits with other application scenarios.
  • Additionally, we are conducting trials with Micro-Cycle applied in-furrow to seed treated with Nutri-Cycle to determine if there is a synergistic effect between the products. This year, we hope to replicate a field test in which we compared a competitive hybrid versus Hefty Brand Corn treated with Hefty Complete, which contains Nutri-Cycle. You can see the results of this trial in the graph below.

Read more about Micro-Cycle: What is it and where does it fit?

Micro-Cycle ROI increase when combined with other biologicals

The Hefty Corn showed a 7-bushel advantage when compared to the competitor. In an adjacent block, we took the same two hybrids and added an in-furrow application of Micro-Cycle to both. The competitor gained 7 bushels compared to the first test, but the Hefty Corn treated with Nutri-Cycle gained 15 bushels.

A big focus for our research is to find out how to make all the products you apply work more effectively. One area that doesn’t get enough attention in the industry is water quality.  Water-Rite and Bio-Prep are corrective agents that have been very effective in improving application efficacy. These are fully proven and should be used on every single farm, based on all our research. Here is how each works for you:

Water-Rite
  • Mix Water-Rite with your spray water before adding crop protection products to neutralize hard water ions, such as calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron.
  • These hard water contaminants can be found in virtually all water, and they can bond with and tie up almost any herbicide.
  • Hard water ions also increase the pH of the water in solution, often into the 8 range. Ideally, your spray solution should be neutral to acidic (usually 5 to 6 pH is ideal) for most things you spray.
  • Water-Rite chelates these contaminants and renders them inert, lowering pH to less than 6 in most cases and preventing negative interactions with products.
  • This year, we are going to further explore trials applying Water-Rite with foliar micronutrients to see if we observe better nutrient uptake versus untreated water. Just like how balancing pH in soils is important for nutrient uptake, our working hypothesis is if you have balanced pH in your water, you should see better crop intake as the nutrients in solution aren’t binding to the hard water ions. We are conducting trials this year with a variety of micronutrients and micronutrient blends.
Bio-Prep
  • Treated water such as that from rural water or municipal sources contains chlorine. Chlorine kills pretty much all biological components within water, rendering them largely inert (dead) within hours. While this is valuable in providing the public with a clean water supply, it is not ideal for farmers trying to make applications containing beneficial microbial life.
  • Bio-Prep neutralizes chlorine in treated water supplies, turning it into chloride.
  • If your water doesn’t contain chlorine, you likely don’t need Bio-Prep, but this product would be invaluable for a farmer with a chlorinated water source who wants to use biologicals.

Finally, both Water-Rite and Bio-Prep are easy to add into your spray solution. At a combined cost of only about 20 cents per acre, you can improve spray performance by neutralizing chlorine and hard water ions, as well as lowering your water pH. There is also no risk of over-application with either of these products. We have tested a variety of application rates and observed little to no additional effects beyond the desired results found using our standard recommended rate.

The main focus in our research is to find cost-effective solutions that make your fertility and crop protection products work better. This year, we look forward to learning more about how Hefty Naturals and water-correcting agents like Water-Rite can do this, even as we search for new components and more effective application methods. To learn more about our research and how these products fit into your operation, email us at research@heftyseed.com.