20 Sep humic fulvic acid: research proves it’s the magic ingredient for healthy soil and abundant plant growth
Farmers have long recognised the benefits of adding humic fulvic acid for soil health and plant growth. We’ve looked at two studies where researchers tested the effect of humic fulvic acid when applied alongside inorganic fertiliser – and the results are amazing.
Humic substances are formed by the microbial degradation of dead plant matter, such as lignin and charcoal. They play an important role in maintaining a balanced pH level in soil, contributing to soil health and plant growth. By changing the pH environment, humic substances help to alleviate acid soil conditions.
Acid soil: why it’s bad news for growers
Though soil acidification is considered a natural process1, especially in areas of high rainfall, it can be a serious problem for growers.
Some of the issues caused by acid soils are:
- limited availability of some essential plant nutrients
- decreased water absorption
- an increase in the uptake of some toxic elements, such as aluminium and manganese
- an impact on the soil’s biological functions, such as nitrogen fixation
The result? Poor crop yields and sub-par soil health.
Below soil pH 5.5 (pH is the measurement of soil acidity, aluminium is usually concentrated, limiting or stop root development. (The lower the pH, the higher the soil acidity).
pH is a reflection of how much hydrogen is present in a substance. The ideal pH level of soil is ‘neutral’ – around pH 6 or 7.
There’s more great information on acid soil on the Agriculture Victoria website here.
Research on humic fulvic acid application in farming enterprises
We found a couple of interesting trials from China where researchers examined the effects of humic fulvic acid on crops.
Study #1: Humic fulvic acid and phosphorus availability in acid soil
The first study published results in 2013 in the Journal of Soil Sciences and Plant Nutrition. The researchers looked at the effect of humic fulvic acid on the phosphorus availability in acid soil.
They applied humic fulvic acid at different rates (0, 0.1, 0.2 & 0.3 g) and in combination with 0.19 g of phosphate-based fertiliser.
They found that this combination directly increased the organic matter content in the soil and increased the population of beneficial microorganisms.
Their key conclusion was that the combination of phosphorus-based fertiliser with humic fulvic acid is the optimum way of improving the availability of phosphorus to plants, essential for healthy growth.
You can read all the details of the study here.
Study #2: Humic fulvic acid fertiliser improves soil properties and soil diversity on peanut crops
Intensive and continuous cropping of peanuts had resulted in a loss of quality and yield for farmers in various parts of China.
In this 2019 study, conducted over a three-year period, researchers looked at the effects of humic fulvic acid fertiliser on soil health and growth of intensively grown peanut crops.
Once again, the fulvic acid treatment was applied alongside equal nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium inputs, and inorganic fertilisers.
The results of this study revealed that humic acid:
- increased the yield and quality of continuous cropping peanuts
- increased enzymatic activities, including urease, sucrase and phosphatase
- impacted the microbial diversity in the soil – the number of harmful bacteria decreased and beneficial fungi increased.
In fact, not only did the researchers measure a 78.9% increase in peanut yield by the end of the three-year trial, they could also see that crop quality increased (higher fat and protein content).
This effect came about through an increase in the availability of soil nutrients, including total and available nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – with maximum effect in the third year.
The overall conclusion is that using humic fulvic acid alongside inorganic fertilisers, increases the sustainability of the soil, and intensive farming practices.
You’ll find the full study published in Nature magazine here.
Why liming isn’t always the answer to acid soils
A common practice for treating acid soils and raising the soil’s pH has been to apply lime. This can help to maintain the current soil pH status or increase surface soil pH if needed. But it can be difficult to measure how much and when’s the best time to use lime to manage your soil.
Liming, or applying gypsum, is also about feeding calcium to plants and soil. Calcium is known as the king of minerals.
Though liming contributes to healthy soil, it’s important to address all aspects of soil nutrition. This should be the driving force for better, healthier soils, pastures, and crops. And this is why we know that adding microbes to the soil mix is a necessary step to guarantee better nutrient uptake.
Why Bio-Hum concentrated fertiliser additive is a more sustainable solution for growers
Having seen the results of various studies and the real-life improvements on local farms, we‘re confident our new Bio-Hum product can make a huge difference to soil health and crop yields.
Not only does it contain an Australian-based, water-soluble humic and fulvic acid powder, but it’s also certified organic. It contains no animal byproducts and includes our special rich blend of live microbials.
This winning combination means soil readily absorbs Bio-Hum’s ingredients. This helps promote the nutrient and water-holding capacity of all crops, grasses, trees, and flowering plants.
Australian farmers know that fertilisers are a finite and costly resource. By using Bio-Hum as a concentrated fertiliser additive, growers will increase the effectiveness of their fertiliser applications. This will help to reduce the amount of fertiliser needed to produce favourable crop yields and profits.
NOTE: All Biolink4Plants fertilisers include humic fulvic acid.