Products enhance soil activities, growthWritten by Saige Albert
“I believe that agriculture is the backbone of our country, and I’m a huge proponent of sustainable agriculture,” says Jackson.
Biologically based products
As a result, Jackson developed three biological products they now manufacture and distribute. The products are Bio-Stimulant, Harvest Energy and Fulvic Electrolyte.
Bio-Stimulant, a product that utilizes enzymes produced by soil microorganisms, promotes the growth of aerobic, or oxygen producing, species.
“We don’t have any live microorganisms in the product,” Jackson notes. “Instead, we have a series of fermentation processes that the product goes through, and we harvest the enzymes from the microorganisms.”
The soil microbes used are those aerobic, or oxygen producing, organisms, which Jackson notes is important. Oxygen in the soil is vital to encouraging the growth of new soil microbes and discouraging weed growth.
“Harvest Energy is a source of carbon,” explains Jackson. “There are a number of simple carbohydrates, like sugars, in the product. The other one-quarter of the product is electrolytes.”
Their third product, Fulvic Electrolyte, is a made from fossilized peat and is leeched using water, rather than a strong acid or strong base like many fulvic soil amendments.
“We wanted to use just water, so we use fossilized peat moss,” she says. “It is a mined material that is ground very fine. Then, we leach out the fulvic.”
Fulvic Electrolyte has iron, calcium and sulfur, along with trace amounts of manganese, zinc and tetra-cobalt.
“In situations where there might be a lot of crop residue, the fulvic helps to accelerate decomposition,” Jackson notes. “It also helps if the soil is exceptionally compacted or if it has a thick layer of thatch that has built up.”
ECS looks at soil quality to determine what customers need to improve their production and increase the efficiency of soil amendments.
“We help people learn to get the most benefit out of our products and any other soil amendments and fertilizers, including which ones are compatible and best suited for the soil,” explains Jackson.
By pulling soil samples at between four and six inches, she notes that they sample the nutrients most readily available to plants. The samples are sent to an independent laboratory, Midwest Labs, in Omaha, Neb. for testing.
“Based on the results we get back, we help customers consider the best options for nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus if they need it,” she adds. “If a soil sample indicates they don’t need any phosphorus or potassium, we encourage them to not put more on.”
Organisms in soil
“You get the most efficient use of products if you understand how they interact and what part the organisms in the soil play,” explains Jackson. “Soil microorganisms are a huge part of production, and without their involvement, production of anything would be less efficient and less healthy.”
Jackson says ECS emphasizes accentuating and working with soil organisms, particularly the aerobic species. The presence of aerobic microorganisms in soils promotes earthworm activity and the presence of arthropods increases, all of which help plant growth.
“It’s all geared toward the health of the soil. Healthy soil produces healthy crops, and healthy crops feed healthy animals and healthy humans,” says Jackson.
“Our bio-stimulants are all listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) as allowed for use in organic food production,” she adds. “We have a number of producers who are organic, but most are still using some commercial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.”
Producers who use the products have said they use less fertilizer and chemicals because of the improvements seen in fields.
“They can tell there are fewer weeds and less challenges from insects,” she explains. “Insects and weeds have a job in nature – they tell you where there might be excesses or deficiency in nutrients. Oftentimes that is indicative of an oxygen deficiency, and that’s where our products help a lot.
Currently, ECS has customers in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and several Canadian provinces.
“I’m not anti-chemicals, but I like to see producers be as efficient as possible, whether that be with herbicides, pesticides and commercial fertilizers or with our products,” says Jackson, noting that her products can help producers get the most from their crops.