CSI Grower Grazier Newsletter – August 2012

GREETINGS: Hope you, your family, your livestock and your crops are surviving the challenging weather. Also hope you had crop insurance if needed. This season has certainly reminded me of the importance of supporting your crop at every stage possible. Current commodity prices should allow you to put a little more in to get a lot more out. We are hearing reports from our growers that they are fairing better than their conventional neighbors.

Six Times to Boost your Crops…

CSI thinks there are six times or stages in the yearly cycle that you can influence the eventual outcome of your crop, regardless of what Mother Nature offers.

Stage 1:  TREATING CROP RESIDUE: Crop residue is valuable food for next year’s crop; we all know this. What is sometimes forgotten are the disease factors that undigested crop residue can harbor.  It is important to apply and lightly work into the soil, residue-reducing microbes and sugar/molasses mi…whether you do it in the fall, which is always best, or in the spring before planting. The old rule about color still applies. If the residue is green and wet, it won’t need a lot of additional N. If the residue is yellow and/or dry, then add more N – preferably in the form of fish – to your residue-reducing microbes and sugar mix. If a green manure crop is involved, use the same biology, sugar and fish mixture, and allow 2 weeks for complete breakdown before planting your economic crop.

Stage 2: PLANTINGSeed treatment has been around a long time. I did it on my small farm in the 70’s using fish, seaweed and water. I would dry the seed on canvas after treatment and my plantings of corn could be up in 3-4 days. Some of the older methods of treatment also included magnets and Radionics treatments. Today, CSI offers several seed treatments containing microbes, carbon sources, trace minerals, enzymes and hormones. CSI urges you to consider seed treatments as a way of producing the fastest growing, healthiest and deepest roots possible in the shortest period of time. Think what that could or did mean to your crop this season.

Having a Starter during this first rapid growth phase is always recommended. CSI offers fish; seaweed; nitrogen fixing microbes; and micronized minerals with beneficial bacteria, fungus and microbe food included. If you use hot mix starters (true solutions liquids) we urge you to supplement them with fish, seaweed and sugar/molasses. We highly recommend diluting hot mixes with water and including microbes including our N fixing azobactor line from Blooming Blossoms.

CSI is learning from very successful growers in the US and Canada that one of the most import things you can do is add small, but significant amounts of trace minerals directly in your pop-up starter, regardless if liquid or dry, or on or near the seed. These include ¾ lb Manganese Sulfate, ¼ lb Zinc Sulfate, 2 dry oz of Copper Sulfate, 2 dry oz Molybdenum and a separate application of 4 oz Boron to avoid coagulation of the mix when put into liquid. Use this with the usual liquid starter of fish, seaweed and molasses. In the case of Joe Gorski, our dealer in Ontario, he sources food grade powders of these traces from overseas. This application still applies even if you may have actually done the right thing, i.e. broadcast larger amounts of trace and major minerals indicated by your soil test along with microbes and energy sources.

Did Joe find it pays off? The local area got pounded with a violent storm including sideways hail that made the corn fields look like Al Capone’s gang took the shotguns to it. His neighbor’s corn is curling and dying (at least 25-50 % lost with 6-7 brix) and Joe’s corn is repairing the lesions, running 17-21 brix and not yet curling. Joe called CSI immediately after the storm and we gave him a foliar recovery spray program that includes the usual great products of fish, seaweed, molasses and NutriFoliar (N fixing bacteria).

 The third thing you can do during the planting stage is mechanical. Use a shank on the planter to make a deep, narrow trench that the roots can easily follow down to moisture. This trench can help during droughts. If you don’t do it at planting, you can try it during any early first cultivation, an early foliar spray, a side dressing or even as a separate operation.

Stage 3:  THE GERMINATION AND RAPID GROWTH  STAGE: This stage lasts up to 4 weeks after emergence. By the end of this rapid growth stage, the starter fertilizer is loosing its dominance and the roots have spread out into a much larger soil area. The time between emergence and when the reproductive stage begins will vary with each crop. However, we are all aware that the corn and other crops keep growing rapidly beyond the first four weeks. The trick is to foliar feed a growth spray when the small plant is really reaching for the sky, and then tell it to start reproducing later, which will become stage 4. This is tricky, as you don’t want it to go all one direction. Somehumorous situations have occurred such as when a mid-west sorghum grower applied 400 #’s of ammonium sulfate (a double fruiting/reproducing fertilizer) as a pre-plant. The sorghum only got a foot high before producing grain heads. On the other hand, Dr. Reams had to reassure many a grower on his program that having watermelon or pepper plants be smaller than they were used to when they started flowering to consider that what the grower was selling was watermelon fruit, not vine or peppers, not pepper vines. When I did consulting work in Ontario with an Italian vegetable grower, I was shocked athow small a pepper plant could be and still produce unbelievable numbers, size and quality when he had drip irrigation to keep the nutrients coming as well as adding foliar feeding. All you could see was a few green leaves surrounded by a beautiful crop of colored bell peppers with excellent brix.

A neutral or growth formula could be used once or twice during this period. Suggested products would be fish, seaweed, sugar/molasses, potassium bicarbonate, liquid calcium or liquid lime, balanced N,P,K,Ca,Mg,S blends as in our micronized mineral line, etc.

Stage 4: The reproductive stage with corn begins about 4 weeks after emergence with the production of an actual ear down inside the plant. Under normal weather conditions, nature will start to release ammonium nitrogen (a fruiting factor) and the nitrates will be reduced due to leaching or bacterial conversion to ammonia. Other natural forces will tell the plant to start the fruiting process unless you have way too much growth energy in the field. This is rather difficult to do in fields, but I have messed up several small plots by adding too much growth energy. Since calcium and phosphorous are each the main nutrients in their class (growth and fruiting) they both have to be present in the reproductive stage. The growing process can be changed to the reproductive side by the use of ammonium sulfate, household ammonia, fish (acid), potassium or ammonium thio-sulfate, sulfate of potash, K-35, vinegar or foliar fertilizer combo’s designed to do just that. Dr. Reams taught that adding a strong reproductive source such as phosphoric acid will chemically convert nitrate N to ammonium N.

This is also the time for potential macro & micro nutrient deficiencies. That is why we always recommend fish and seaweed in the side-dressings and foliars as well as a more complete, mineral spectrum product like COMPLETE or SeaStar for application at this critical time. The plant will keep growing, more ears will develop at each node, but strangely, the upper/later ears are the ones that develop for actual harvest. The number of ears you can harvest depends on your ability to keep the necessary nutrients (energy sources) available in essential amounts throughout the season. During the 5th week for corn, a new leaf may form every 2-3 days. By the 6th week, lack of nutrition or moisture can seriously reduce potential kernels and ear size.

Stage 5: Grain/fruit/berry expansion stage is when the plant is trying to fill out the already formed ‘fruit’: ears of corn, soy beans, apples, tomatoes, squash etc. Again, we have a huge drain on the energy of the plant. Foliar feeding is very essential and efficient. I can’t emphasize the need to support, hopefully, what is a good potential crop with fish, seaweed, carbon, nitrogen, mineral blends etc. I also can’t emphasize enough the use of our azobacter, nitrogen fixing foliar product, NutriFoliar. In addition to fixing nitrogen, NutriFoliar also produces vitamins and growth factors from the plant sugars that would cost a great deal of money if you were to buy them separately.

Stage 6: This is the final stage representing the last 30 days until harvest. Dr Reams taught that providing nutritional support during this period could increase yield by as much as 50 %. Think how much extra dry matter you could produce if every kernel of 2 plus ears were not dented like the end kernels. How about harvesting cherries 50% bigger than your neighbor produces? Potassium is one of the keys in the last 30 days. Since this is a return to a growth stage, an alkaline form, such as potassium hydroxide or potassium carbonate is called for, but K-35 (Potassium sulfate) appears to work well. Epsom salts (MgSO4) is sometimes used to reduce the nitrates that keep a crop from expelling the moisture and/or hardening off.

Fruit & berry growers should extend stage 6 to include foliar feeding of trees/bushes/vines until they actually lose their leaves or die off for the winter. Use neutral or fruiting mixtures as the perennial is going to be storing up energy for next years spring fruit. Fruit and berry growers should also plan to start foliar feeding fish, seaweed, sugar, blends, etc as soon as any bud activity is showing. The nutrients go right through the bark.

Finally we return to Stage one, crop residue and cover crops. Fall cover crops should always be mixtures such as radish, oats, rye, vetch and clover. Fall is the best time for soil testing, correcting the minerals and continuing bio-activation. Your cover crops will use your corrective minerals for food and you will increase their efficacy by tuningyour active humus to plant frequencies so your next year’s economic crop will find them easy to assimilate. Tending to every stage will allow you to reach toward your crops genetic potential and maximize your earnings.

Plan now for this late summer, fall and early next spring so that your soil is re-mineralized and bio-activated and your crop residue is properly digested. Make sure you have the materials for seed treatment, side dressing and foliars lined up for next year and your equipment is set up to be able to do at least 2 and preferably 3 things every time you cross the field.


3 DAY SUSTAINABLE AG SEMINAR: Jan 8, 9, 10, 2013 Tues-Wed-Thurs from 8:00-5:00 will again be held at the Best Western Hotel in Grand Rapids, MI – 616-949-8400 – ask for the CSI Seminar rate. Please call CSI – 800-260-7933 – to get your name on our list. Cost is $425 per person before Dec 1, $475 after Dec 1. Second farm member or spouse is $225 or $275 after Dec 1. Attendees will receive a handbook containing the 580 slides presented. Back to Joe fromOntario. He attended the class in Jan. of 2012 for the second time. The corn we mentioned is averaging 2 ½ ears per stock over 600 acres. Does he think the investment of time and money was worth it? CSI hopes to see you there. 

SUGAR &/OR MOLASSES: Because the total amount of N fixed by CSI’s line of Blooming Blossom products is dependent upon the total amount of carbon (food) available to Bioplin, NutriTech & Nutrifoliar microbes, we urge you to use carbohydrates with them every time, whether soil or foliar. Some makers of bacterial soil products ask that you not put extra carbs with their product with the argument that the microbes may not do

their job of breaking down residue or some other function while luxury feeding on the carbs. If you keep the rates to 1 lb of sugar or 1 qt of molasses in the row and 2 lb of sugar or 2 qt of molasses for foliar, you can have maximum rate of N fixation and insure that your decomposing microbes will continue to do their job.

SULFUR, BORON & ZINC: The soil tests coming through our lab continue to show a lack of these minerals. Please broadcast them and get your soil battery charged! (see our Jan. 2010 newsletter for a more detailed explaining of each minerals important role…on our website!) You can’t go wrong using 15 – 20 lbs/A every year of boron. Your animals and crops would have handled this year’s heat better with at least 50 ppm Sulfur on your soil test providing higher rates in your pastures and feedstuffs. Adequate S also helps keep the flies away. You are not getting much sulfur anymore from the dirty smokestacks. If you want your corn to grow tall… apply Zinc!

SOIL TESTING: Late summer or early fall are the best time to pull your samples. Just use or copy the Soil Bag Tag in this newsletter. With our fast turnaround time, you will have plenty of time for purchasing and applying any needed corrective materials. Because of the nature of our minerals, you can apply most of them on frozen ground without loss.

ORGANIC PHOSPHORUS MOVES!: Studies show that phosphorous in humus and in microbe secretions is attached to carbon and moves (not to be confused with leaching) a lot more than chemical phosphate. Chemical phosphate (0-46-0, MAP, DAP, etc) seeks to attach to calcium which generally forms hard rock phosphate and is very un-available to your crop. Our biological programs insure maximum conversion of chemical phosphates to organic ones for plant availability. Our biologicals along with our Reactive Rock Tennessee Brown phosphate result in superior phosphate availability.

MICROBIAL DIVERSITY: If you are going to add microbes, make sure they are appropriate multi-species types as they all help provide a piece of the puzzle. Our soluble dry mineral powders and Tainio lines both fit the bill.

ORGANIC CONVERSIONS: While talking with a grower, he mentioned it was time to go organic. His herbicides were costing him $100 per acre. After reminding him of the fall oat cover crop trick followed by the spring calcium & molasses trick right after last soil disturbance, he breathed a big sigh of relief. He had been contemplating a couple years of alfalfa that he didn’t have a market for and other laborious and season consuming/no profit years he felt were probably needed to overcome weed pressures. Folks it isn’t necessary if you follow these steps: Soil testing and corrective fertilization, bio-activation & change to sustainable/organic fertilizers for starter and foliar & using the above tricks of weed control. Certainly, I recommend the use of compost if available and reasonably priced. Certainly, one year of 2 cover crops of buckwheat, followed by radishes and/or oats/vetch/clover etc. in the fall is a worthwhile step. But don’t dread the conversion, do it aggressively, intelligently and have an escape plan if nature fails to respond to your attempts such as cultivation or even taking down the entire field and replanting something else or harvesting for forage instead of grain. Remember, many of you who have not taken any previous steps toward sustainability will find that the weeds in your economic crop may have more nutrition than the crop you planted meaning the insects will eat your crop instead of your weeds!

CSI IS IN AN EXPANSION MODE!: We are in dire need of active dealers and distributors in US & Canada as well as foreign countries. We have the soil testing and recommendations that make conversions much easier. CSI also has the bulk minerals to replace any major mineral P-K-Ca-Mg-S as well as Organo Fish, SeaCrop16, humate and humic acid products, soluble ground minerals with microbes, seed treatments, compost tea mixes, liquid calcium, standard and organic liquid trace minerals, seawater solutions, and the best scientific breakthrough in recent fertilizer history, the Blooming Blossom line of N fixing azobactor in the stable cyst form that take gaseous nitrogen out of the air and provide amino acid, ammonium and nitrate to your plants for direct uptake through root or leaf. In short, everything you need to help your neighboring farmers except sugar and molasses or local limestone. This obesity-and-other-degenerative disease suffering country of ours needs your help! You or someone or some business you know needs to step up to the plate. Medical/sickness costs are breaking us. Our solution? Grow nutrient dense crops.


The long time basic nutritional shotgun program for any type of stress relief has been 2 – 4 qts Organo Fish and 1 pt SeaCrop19 liquid seaweed. Whether it be too hot, too dry, too wet, too cold, hail, wind, and basically any other crop stress this program has worked and worked well. It can be improved upon, however, by adding additional inputs. Two preferred approaches come to mind:

–        Foliar apply 250 ml/A of NutriFoliar along with 2 qt molasses/A to provide additional N during this time of stress. This program can be applied any time and will last 3 – 4 weeks.

–        Foliar apply ½ – 1 lb/A of SeaStar because product enzymes will further activate the fish plus provide needed minerals and beneficial microbes.

Either program works very well. IF you think you still have time – Dr. Reams taught you could…  (See stage 6 above) – consider the following recap of each step: [In every stage CSI recommends the use of fish to stimulate soil, roots, foliage. The amino acids contained in fish can be taken immediately into the crop with little energy used to convert it to bioavailable plant food.]

Stage 1 – Crop Residue:  Crop Recycle is a fungal dominated microbial product.Soil Infusion is a bacterial dominated microbial product. Broadcast and lightly incorporate with your stubble.

Stage 2 – Seed Treatment: Whereas you could spray the seed with fish and seaweed and then wait for it to dry, an obviously easier approach would be to sprinkle Premium Seed Treatment directly on the seed in the seed bin at .75 – 1#/A. This will also help enhance cover crops.

Stage 3 – Germination & Rapid Growth: Premium Seed Treatment starts this process off. Broadcast apply fish and COMPLETE @1 – 2 #/A or SeaStar @ ½ – 1#/A and incorporate prior to planting with a dry planter. Better yet, use a liquid planter and always add fish with COMPLETE or SeaStar near the seed. Foliar with SeaStar or Growth Plus (Note: prior to seed formation, you can enhance the number of seed to be set via nutrition.)

Stage 4 – Reproductive: Most crops automatically switch to reproductive but this may be delayed and/or the grower may want to push this stage. In addition to fish foliar feed Bloom Plus which is specifically formulated to enhance the reproductive plant response. (Note: once the seed pods are set you can only enhance the size of the seed via nutrition.)

Stage 5 – Seed or Fruit Size: Most soils begin to run out of energy about this time. Sidedress and/or foliar feed IF POSSIBLE with NutriFoliar and Jackpot 45 – 30 days before harvest.

Stage 6 – PreHarvest/Covercrop/Residue Incorporation: Nutritional programs are the same as Stage 1.

(Note: Bioplin, NutriTech and NutriFoliar are liquid and OMRI Listed™. In addition to available nitrogen NutriFoliar also provides growth promoting substances like auxins, giberrellins, cytoninins, vitamins and pathogen fighting compounds. Some of the pathogens that have been controlled by Azotobacter in the soil and on the leaf surface include: Alternaria, Fusarium, Collectotrichum, Rhyzoctonia, Microfomina, Diplodia, Batryiodiplodia, Cephalosporium, Curvularia, Helminthosporium and Aspergillus.

Crop Recycle, Soil Infusion, COMPLETE, SeaStar, Growth Plus, Bloom Plusand Jackpot are dry powdered – dissolve in water and spray – and are NOP qualified. Nonorganic products are also available.)

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: Every species in every environment adds to the overall energy patterns and therefore to the net effect in soils, fields, woods, jungles, etc. New research on mistletoe shows their presence or absence effects many other plant and wildlife species in that location. Other research shows that predator and prey relationships, including death of a prey, can effect the biochemical reactions in that particular location. Everything is connected to everything else in our world. The latest research from Ohio State Univ. shows that the epigenetics (of the genes that are present, which are actually being expressed?) The expression is quite different in an organic soil versus a conventionally farmed soil. In other words, the energy patterns from an organic soil are different and plant response is different because the plant senses the energy patterns are different and responds accordingly allowing the plant’s internal communication system to choose to express different traits.

One of the ways this can help you get more nutrient dense, healthy food in the living soil system that you have set up, is that the plant senses that there is no need to waste time and energy on gene expression for handling large quantities of N in the typical conventional/dead system. The plant also doesn’t have to make extra defensive compounds that it would ordinarily make in the dead system. Therefore, the plant can take that extra energy and produce healthy compounds for the end consumer be it livestock or people. As far as I am concerned, since these concepts are all proven science, any continued government support of N-P-K simplistic nonsense, followed by toxic rescue chemistry is a crime against its citizens. Good Luck With That! Politics, money and multi-nationals still call the shots.


Be sure to stop by our booth at AcresUSA Conference which this year is at the Louisville Marriott Downtown (call 502-627-5045 – ask for Acres room rate) Thurs – Sat Dec 6 – 8 with pre-conference sessions Dec 4 – 5. Call Acres at 800-355-5313 for your reservation now and save.

Dr. Phil will be traveling to Costa Rica, New York and Maine area and a western trip to Texas as well this fall. IF you would like him to stop by, give us a call at 800-260-7933.

17th Annual Biodynamic Celebration and Harvest Festival will be held Sept 28 – 30th at Long Hungry Creek Farm in Red Boiling Springs, TN. CSI dealer and biodynamic author Jeff Poppens holds these seminars every year. Go to www.barefootfarmer.com or call 615-699-4676 for details.

2013 Moses Conference will be held Feb 21-23 at La Crosse, WI.www.mosesorganic.org


From KY: This was our first year using the COMPLETE as a root dip and foliar. I was very impressed with the crop resilience that I observed.


From MI: We have been working with CSI for 10 years. Phil Wheelers’ recommendations, based on meticulous soil testing, have always been right-on. Working with CSI has helped us to grow high quality, nutrient dense vegetables. I also like knowing I can call Phil at any point during the season and he is there to help address any issues I might have.

Michael, CSA and Truck Marketer

From MI: We rely on the knowledge and professionalism of CSI for all of our soil mineral testing and humic products for compost tea production.

Joe, Certified Soil Foodweb Advisor

From SC: I tested some corn in the market garden and had 12.5 to 13.5 brix at the stem. I am so exited the energy is building in the soil.

Todd, Truck Marketer

From OH: In 2007 my Father and I began to transform our 280 acre conventional grain farm into a more diversified, and non-toxic farm. After 4 years of many ups and downs we reached out to CSI for soil testing and a more focused direction. We read The Non-Toxic Farmers Handbook and bought CSI’s Sustainable Growers Seminar DVD set. This is by far the most complete and professionally presented Ag DVD that I’ve ever seen. It has been very beneficial. We’re now entering our second certified organic harvest and have applied to become a CSC dealer.

Ryan, Cash Crop Grower

From MI: Transitioning a farm from conventional to organic can be a daunting task. The team at CSI have the tools and techniques to get you there…and beyond.

RJ, Organic Blueberrie