Tag Archives: beneficial microbes

No-Till Soil vs Tilled Soil a Novel Experiment

no-till soil

No-Till Soil vs Tilled Soil a Novel Experiment

Here’s an interesting experiment designed to show the differences in microbial activity in no-till soil versus tilled soil. While the experiment was not designed to get detailed information, it does have the effect of showing that no-till soil has higher microbial activity than tilled soil.

The experiment was designed as more of a demonstration and used mens cotton briefs, yes underwear. Since the briefs are made of cotton, soil bacteria would be expected to degrade the briefs. In no-till soil the briefs degrade over during the time of the experiment. In the till soil, the briefs did not.

The full article is below.

Brief Encounter

A Demonstration Using Cotton Underwear Offers Lessons On Soil Management


Why were cotton briefs used to bring a message to farmers at the 2016 South Dakota Soil Health Coalition’s first Soil Health School?

South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Soils Field Specialist Anthony Bly says it was an effective way to draw attention to the way different soil management practices affect soil health. A pair of briefs was buried in the soil at three different locations that included corn with conventional tillage, soybeans under mulch tillage and no-till soil where cover crops are grown.

“Crop diversity in itself causes soil microbial populations to rise and fall,” Bly says. “That’s because the crops play a role in feeding the microbes. Moisture conditions also play an important role in soil microbial populations.”

After selecting the sites, briefs were buried to about the waistline five weeks before he needed them for his demonstration. Cotton briefs were used because cotton contains carbon, which is one of the things soil microbes feed on.

“Men’s cotton underwear briefs contain high amounts of carbon,” Bly says. “Therefore, they can be buried in the soil and retrieved to observe and evaluate soil microbiological activity and ultimately soil health status.”

In the soil health demonstration, a new pair of briefs was compared to the brief from each field. The brief buried in the no-till field where cover crops were grown showed the most deterioration. As part of the evaluation of the project, the briefs were weighed to make a statistical comparison of the deterioration of each pair. The control brief, which was never buried, weighed 58.5 grams. The brief buried in the conventional tilled corn field weighed 50.8 grams. The briefs buried in the mulch till soybean field weighted 48.3 pounds. The lightest brief was the one buried in the no-till soil, weighing 28.4 grams.

“Hardly anything was left of the brief that was buried in the no-till soil,” Bly says. “That indicates extensive soil microbiological activity and a blanced soil ecosystem. That’s the kind of soil microbiological activity that will cause crop residue to quickly break down.”

Bly points out that he isn’t a soil health researcher but is familiar with soil health principles. He explains that soil health researchers sometimes use the idea of a “herd” to explain how soil microbes function.

“If you think of the microbes as a herd of cows, it’s easier to understand how diversity boosts soil microbiological activity,” Bly says. “The ‘herd,’ when they have the same crop every year or are in an environment where two crops are consistently rotated every two years, microbiology diversity decreases. That’s because the mono crops or just the two crops provide food for a certain set of microbes. Ten different plants would provide resources for a wider range of microbiology.”

Different plants also provide different levels and combinations of carbon and nitrogen, so a wider range of plants will stimulate a wider range of soil microbiological activity.

The briefs project wasn’t intended to provide a great deal of scientific information. Since the fields where the briefs were buried were random, and there was way to establish a control site, the conclusions of Bly’s project were fairly simple.

“Since there was less of the material left from the briefs buried in the no-till site we concluded that microbial activity in that field was greater there than in the other two sites,” Bly says. “That information may be helpful to no-tillers who struggle with lack of residue breakdown. Adding cover crops or diversifying their crop rotation may boost soil microbial activity and break residue down more effectively.”

Bly also believes no-tillers might benefit from understanding the value of diversified cropping in terms of soil health. While no-tillers realize some benefit from no-till practices, they may be able to significantly increase those benefits with added crop diversity.

“Keeping a live root in the soil with cover crops is also key to active soil microbiology,” Bly says. “Roots exude carbohydrates, which is one of the foods microbes want. Microbes bring nutrients to the plants and consume the carbohydrates, creating a synergy that can improve plant and soil health.”

Soil microbes also form soil aggregates, which are groups of soil particles that bind to each other more strongly than to adjacent particles. The space between the aggregates provide pore space for retention and exchange of air and water.

Cover crops also sequester inorganic nutrients such as nitrates that remain after a crop is removed. Instead of migrating into waterways, the unused nutrients can be held in the soil for use at a future date.

“Many people have seen the rainfall infiltration demonstration which explains the importance of soil health, too,” Bly says. “Many times people have an ‘Aha!’ moment when they see that demonstration and more thoroughly understand how important it is to promote and support soil health. We hope some folks who saw the briefs demonstration had the same kind of realization, which can be a really great moment.”

Bly also notes that research is demonstrating that soil microbial activity and soil health can further be enhanced with a crop/livestock integrated system that helps utilize and manage plant residue levels.

Additional information about soil health and the importance of soil microbiology can be found at www.nrcs.usda.gov, searching for “The Living Soil: Bacteria.”

Custom Biologicals manufactures a wide variety of biological products for agriculture. Including products that contain beneficial soil bacteria and beneficial soil Trichoderma.

Beneficial Microorganisms in Agriculture

Beneficial Microorganisms in Agriculture

Beneficial Microorganims in Agriculture. Here’s a situation where a picture does tell a thousand words.

The picture below is a side by side comparison showing Biota Max™, a biofertilizer, (on the left) and untreated (on the right). This is a great example of the power of using beneficial microorganisms in agriculture, farming, and gardening. 

You’ll notice that the plants on the treated side are much healthier and greener. This is because the root system on the treated side is much more developed. This larger, more developed root system allows the plant to take up nutrients and water more efficiently.

Beneficial Microorganisms in Agriculture

Biota Max side by side field trial. The side on the left used Biota Max.


Beneficial Microorganisms

This field trial used Biota Max™ our unique, effervescent soil treatment. Each Biota Max™ tablet contains billions of beneficial microbes. Both beneficial bacteria and beneficial Trichoderma fungi are contained in the tablet. Included in Biota Max™ are 5 species of Bacillus, 4 species of Trichoderma fungi and Paenibacillus polymyma, a nitrogen fixing bacteria.

Beneficial microorganisms are used in agriculture as both a soil and seed treatment. Beneficial microbes are sometimes called biofertilizers, soil amendments, or soil probiotics.

As the picture so dramatically illustrates, biofertilizers help grow bigger, healthier and more vibrant plants and vegetables. This is why the use of biofertilizers and biological soil amendments is growing in agriculture, farming, and gardening.

Custom Biologicals

Custom Biologicals, Inc. manufactures a number of innovative microbial products for agriculture, including Biota Max™. We specialize in manufacturing concentrated microbial products. Our  products are ideal for agriculture, farming and gardening.

Dealer and distributor inquires are always welcome. We have both domestic and international distributor agreements available. Private labeling, customized formulations, and protected territories are also available. Protected territories are only available for our international distributors.

Contact CustomBio at (561) 797-3008 or via email at Bill@Custombio.biz.



The Agricultural Microbials Market is Exploding

Concentrated Biological Products

The Agricultural Microbials Market is Exploding

To many people, the agricultural microbials market is a new, untested market. This is simply untrue. In fact, the agricultural microbials market is exploding. Companies that are in the agricultural market would be wise to enter this growth market.

According to a published report¹, the agricultural microbials market is expected to be 4.45 BILLION dollars by 2019. This includes bacteria, fungi, virus and protozoa. Not surprisingly, the North America has the biggest market share, followed by Europe.

The agricultural microbials market includes microbes that are used for crop growth, yield enhancement, and biopesticides.

Fruits and vegetables are the largest users of beneficial microorganisms. As we’ve noted many times on this blog, beneficial microbes are a tremendous growth industry. And the time is now – not twenty years from now.

Farmers and growers  that use beneficial microbes are noticing increased yields, greater soil vigor and health, and our able to use less traditional fertilizers.

Custom Biologicals manufactures beneficial microbes, both bacteria and fungi, for use in agriculture. Our products include:

  • Custom GP – This biological soil amendment contains 4 Trichoderma species and is OMRI registered.
  • Custom B5 – Is a biological soil amendment that contains 5 species of Bacillus.
  • Biota Max – This is a unique, effervescent tablet containing beneficial bacteria, beneficial Trichoderma, and a nitrogen fixing bacteria.

All of our products can be private labeled and we have the technology to customize a product for your individual needs.

If your company is interested in entering the agricultural microbials market, contact Custom Biologicals at (561) 797-3008 or via email at Bill@Custombio.biz.


Cited Report

1 – The report, “Agricultural Microbials Market by Type (bacteria, fungi, virus, and protozoa), Crop Type (Cereals & grains, oilseeds, & pulses, fruit & vegetable) & Region – Global Trends & Forecast to 2019”, defines and segments the agricultural microbials market with analyses and projections of the size of the market. It also identifies the driving and restraining factors of the market with analyses of trends, opportunities, burning issues, and challenges.

Speak to Analyst for more info: http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/speaktoanalyst.asp?id=15455593

Microorganisms for Plants

Microorganisms used by Custom Biologicals


I’m often asked how we choose the microorganisms for plants that we use in our products. I’ll use this post to describe the process we use to choose our bacteria and fungi used in our biological products.

Microorganisms for Plants Criteria

Custom Biologicals uses six criteria when choosing microorganisms for our products. Microorganisms for plantsHere’s the list:

  • Safety First – ALWAYS
  • Non- Pathogenic – do not cause disease
  • Natural – Not GMO (NOT genetically modified organisms)
  • Non-Opportunistic
  • All from the ATCC (American Type Culture Collection)
  • Proven Benefits on 40+ crops

Safety is always our first concern and you’ll notice that the first four points touch on safety. We don’t use any known human pathogens. All of our products contain microorganisms that are non-opportunistic. That means that they don’t cause disease even in a compromised host.

All of our products are derived from microorganisms we have received from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). The ATCC is a repository for microorganisms. Many of these have been studied by universities and companies worldwide. This allows us to choose the species that are most beneficial for the task at hand. It also allows us to monitor thousands of field trials on these organisms around the globe greatly expanding our knowledge base.

Finally, we choose our organisms based on their proven benefit to crops. We then test the products both in our laboratory and in our own field tests.

Using this method, we determine which microorganisms for plants to use in our products. Currently, we use both beneficial soil bacteria and beneficial soil Trichoderma species.

Custom Biologicals

For more information about this important topic, contact Custom Biologicals at Bill@Custombio.biz or at (561) 797-3008.

Custom Biologicals is a manufacturer of biological products for a wide variety of applications including agriculture, farming and gardening. Here’s a list of our agriculture products. Additionally, Custom is involved in the bioremediation, wastewater, maintenance supply, and restaurant supply industries. Here’s a complete list of our products for agriculture.