Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Trial

Just a little update on what's going on with EM Technology®.

This summer a client of ours started a field trial with pumpkins in Southern Arizona.  The trial was done at a farm in San Simon, Arizona.  The fields are irrigated with drip irrigation.  Activated EM•1® was used in conjunction with conventional fertilizer, humate, and micronutrients.  Three applications of Activated EM•1® were applied to total 40 gallons in the soil.  No product was applied foliarly.

The only difference between the Activated EM•1® plot and the control was the addition of Activated EM•1®.  Final yields were 45 boxes per acre on the control and 54.52 boxes per acre on the Activated EM•1®-treated plot.  The observations from the soil and plant tissue analysis are as follows:

1.  Organic matter increased with Activated EM•1® (from 1.02 on 5/13/10 to 1.25 on 7/26/10)
2.  pH decreased with Activated EM•1®  (from 7.8 on 5/13/10 to 7.6 on 7/26/10)
3.  N-P-K increased with Activated EM•1®  (from
        Nitrate NO3 36.95ppm on 5/13/10 to 76.35ppm
        Phosporous 19.8mg/kg on 5/13/10 to 21.1 mg/kg on 7/26/10
        Potassium    44ppm on 5/13/10 to 82ppm on 7/26/10
4.  Powdery mildew was less severe with Activated EM•1® use.

Soil Analysis:

NutrientInitial Soil Test40 gal AEM1No EM1UnitsDifference
NO3 N36.9576.3541.3mg/Kg4.35
EC Soil3.785.282.09mmhos/cm-1.69
Organic Matter1.021.250.94percent-0.08

Friday, October 22, 2010

San Xavier Co-op Farm

Last week we received some phone calls about an article on San Xavier Cooperative Association, a farm on the San Xavier Reservation in Tucson, Arizona, a hold of the Tohono O'odham Nation.  Of course we knew about this farm for several years as they have been purchasing EM•1® Microbial Inoculant from us since 2005. 

Dr. Higa visits San Xavier Farm
Bill Worthey, the farm manager, has been invovled with EM Technology® since 1995.  Bill used to run a cotton farm in the city of Marana (just North of Tucson) until the property he was leasing was sold into residential development in 2002.  Bill took the conventional cotton farm from conventional growing methods to certified organic in three years through the use of EM•1® Microbial Inoculant.  He says the crop did not suffer any reduction in yield during the transition period and actually increased yield in the last year of the transition.  He also says that he was able to substantially cut costs in synthetic inputs and say nearly a 50% reduction in water usage.

The recent article focused on the alfalfa production and the native crops that are grown to help the Nation's people get back to crops that were the mainstay of the people's diet.  These crops include tepary beans, pima lima beans, low-gluten pema club wheat, pumpkin squash, yellow-meated water melon, winter O'odham peas, and giswa (a 60-day corn).  Many of these native crops were what kept the people from diabetes, which roughly 60% of the people have.

Although the native crops are grown, they are not really grown to support the farm's costs.  The alfalfa is the main cash crop.  Bill and his crew grow the alfalfa using Nature Farming (for more on Nature Farming, please visit EM New Zealand's website) methods, has the crops in a rotation program with the native crops and other market vegetables, and practices minimum tillage to reduce soil problems.  He prides himself on the yields of alfalfa, which is getting about 13.5 tons per acre over 9 cuttings.  The protein value of the alfalfa runs about 21-22 percent and is sold locally, with demand growing yearly.  One of his customers is the only raw dairy (bovine) in the state of Arizona (also a user of EM•1® Microbial Inoculant) in the Phoenix area.
Dr. Higa and Bill Worthey go
 for a tour

There are lots of plans for the future of this farm.  One of those includes making it a model EM® farm in the area to demonstrate how EM•1® can be incorporated into Native America farming practices which include sustainable practices (if not organic) and Native America staple crops.  Plans include adding in some aquaculture and a herd of Red Angus cattle in the next few years. (Red Angus are better adapted to the heat of the Sonoran Desert than Black Angus).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Revisiting Compost Teas

Compost Tea brewer used at Harding Golf Course in California
We're glad to see that many compost tea people are catching on to the message we starting putting out nearly 10 years ago:  "Use EM•1® and Compost Tea together".  They are not the same thing and should not be confused and compliment each other.  Marketing by people promoting tea has caused some confusion as they spend more time comparing EM•1® to compost tea than looking at them as complimentary.  

Doing this is like comparing and apple and an orange.  They are both fruits, they grow in trees, and they are spherically shaped. 

Compost tea methods are specifically set up to produce aerobic microbes, including various fungi, and some amounts of nutrients from the manure or compost.  There will also be various enzymes that are produced, different ones than in EM•1® due to the conditions of the brewing.  You'll be hard pressed to see a nutrient analysis on compost tea or an enzyme list.  This is largely due to the nature of compost tea, which is hardly ever consistent as the feeds stock is always in flux.

EM•1® adds a greater biodiversity to compost tea when added to the tea.  This can be measured as a biodiversity index.  It also adds in roughly 100 enzymes, B-complex vitamins, Vitamins A & D, bacteriocins, IAA, and GA, amino acids, and 40+ trace minerals, all in addition to the lives microbes.  Mix the two together and you are getting a 1:2 punch.  This is why I do not speak against compost teas.

Another benefit to combining EM•1® to compost tea is the extended shelf life.  We have heard that it has extended the shelf life as long as 12 days (however, we normally recommend to use the EM•1®-inoculated tea within 3-4 days).

To learn more about this, please visit Marc Remillard's blog and order his new book.  Marc really gets it and has an entire chapter on EM•1® and the interaction with compost tea in his new book, Compost Tea Making.  Marc also has a new blog that compliments his the book.  Pay a visit to his blog and let us know what you think:  Compost Tea Making.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2010 Chili Peppers Coming Soon!

Baby Chili Peppers
This was a tough season in New Mexico for chili peppers.  There were a tremendous amount of rains early in the season then some frosts and then a pretty wet summer....with weeks above 100F.  The crop still came in and looks great.

On the left, we have a shot of what they looked like at the beginning of the season.  Early on we could see similar budding as we did last year.  There were sites all along the crop that were going to set fruit.

About 3 weeks away from first picking
As the season went on, there was some vigorous growth with the plants sending out multiple laterals and very large leaves.  The laterals meant there was going to be higher yields and the larger leaves mean a greater amount of photosynthesis.

Take a look at the size of these leaves.  Also note, the color and the condition of the leaves.  Couldn't be better!

Large Leaves on Chili

Harvesting Chili Peppers
Red Chili Peppers In New Mexico
We made several trips out this growing season to watch as everything came along like clockwork.  Harvest started in late July with the first picking yielding around 16-20 tons per acre.

The program involves adding a nutrient solution and Activated EM•1® through irrigation tape that is about 18 inches below the soil surface.  The rate of Activated EM•1® is 3 gallons per acre per week in the tape and an additional 5 gallons per acre per week in a foliar feed mix, sprayed in the evening.

It is now the end of October and the harvest is still not done.  Some fields are getting a third picking (not usual).  The field above was picked for 7 days straight in the second picking.  The harvest will go on until frost.  Only after all fields are completed will we have numbers on the total tons per acre.  Whatever the final tally is, we can sure see that the farmers are very happy with the results they've seen for their second year with EM•1® in their fields.