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Steve Zuber and his father, Don, raise beef cattle on Zuber Farms and grow their own hay and oats to feed the herd.
Last year was the first time they used AGGRAND 4-3-3 Natural Liquid Fertilizer instead of their usual 16-16-16 and 46-0-0 chemical fertilizers on their oats and hay crops. The 2009 growing season was hot and dry in Sublimity, Oregon.
2009 HARVEST - Steve Zuber bales his hay crop that was fertilized with AGGRAND 4-3-3 for the first time. Zuber said he’ll never go back to chemical fertilizers after using AGGRAND.Altogether, the Zubers planted about 140 acres with oats and hay. They fertilized the fields in early spring, using 1.5 gallons of AGGRAND 4-3-3 mixed in 33 gallons of water per acre. Zuber said the plants came up slowly, and his dad doubted the AGGRAND products.
“By May they started to perk up,” Zuber said. “We didn’t have much spring rain last year.”
In late May, a hard rain fell that knocked down the plants. “I didn’t think it (oats crop) would come up,” Zuber said. “But it came up and we gave it a second shot of AGGRAND.” In the second round of fertilization the Zubers applied one gallon of AGGRAND 4-3-3 and one quart of AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash 0-0-8 per acre. “It was mostly dry after that,” Zuber said. “We pretty much grew that crop with that one rain.”
At harvest time, the plants were relatively short. “We had lots of heads,” he said. “The plants were almost more heads than stems. We got more than we usually get on a good year. It was some of the heaviest oats we ever grew seed wise. We could tell when we combined it that it had a lot more weight. We were really happy with it.”
Zuber said he spent less than half as much on AGGRAND fertilizers, about $4,000, as he typically spent on commercial fertilizers.
While the elder Zuber may have been skeptical, Steve believed in the AGGRAND fertilizers from the start.
ZUBER FARMS - Steve Zuber, along with his dad, Don, harvest their hay crop, grown to feed their beef cattle in Sublimity, Oregon.The hay fields received one application of AGGRAND 4-3-3 at the same mix ratio of 1.5 gallons in 33 gallons of water. Although conditions were less than perfect because the fields were new and the season was dry, production was better than he expected, Zuber said.
“The hay crop did pretty darn well,” he said. “It was very close to normal. We were down only a few bales. The hay was beautiful. It grew well without a lot of course stems. The lack of rain is what caused us to get fewer bales. We did real well, and I attribute that to the fertilizers. We’ll never go back to chemical fertilizer.”
Zuber said he knows continued use of AGGRAND fertilizers over time will continuously improve his soil as it comes back to normal balance, and he expects greater harvests in the future.
“I’m really impressed with AGGRAND,” Zuber said. “I’m enthusiastic about what it’s going to do in the future. I think it’s going to be great.”
Richard Holappa, research and development managerRapid growth in sales and markets created the need last year not only to expand the AGGRAND manufacturing plant but to add new personnel.
Richard Holappa Jr. recently was named AGGRAND research and development manager. “Richard brings an agricultural degree to our knowledge base, as well as previous work experience in laboratory settings,” said Chris Orr, AGGRAND business manager. “Richard's knowledge and efforts in the lab and field will inevitably improve our product line.”
Holappa has been at AMSOIL for nearly six years. Originally, he was the filtration administrator. He most recently held the position of technical product manager of filtration and after market products.
Holappa holds a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, as well as a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn.
Prior to coming to AMSOIL, Holappa worked as an industrial chemist for 3M company and was co-owner of a generator sales and service company that serviced small gas engines as well as large diesel engines.
His personal interest in agriculture made the switch to AGGRAND even more pleasant for him, Holappa said. For the past five years, he has used AGGRAND products on his home gardens.
“I really believe in the AGGRAND product line because it encourages the sustainable and organic philosophy instead of putting chemicals into the ground,” Holappa said.
The future is bright for AGGRAND fertilizers, which have experienced exceptional growth in sales and popularity in the past three years.
“Growth plots are under construction for 2010 to improve our product application knowledge and compare AGGRAND to other leading brands,” Orr said. “Richard also oversees the newly-formed AGGRAND Technical Department staffed by longtime AGGRAND employee Walt Sandbeck in his new role as fertilizer specialist. These concrete improvements demonstrate again AMSOIL management’s increased and continuing investment in the AGGRAND line. It’s truly a great time to be involved in AGGRAND Fertilizers.”
With the improved facilities and increase in personnel, AGGRAND is positioned to examine and fine-tune the already exceptional quality of AGGRAND products, Holappa said.
“Walt is very knowledgeable and has a very keen interest in agriculture and growing,” Holappa said. “It’s his love, too. He has great insights into plant nutrition and facilitating the AGGRAND products. He has vast experience with the products. He’s a good man to have on the team.”
Plans for the future include development of new products, growth studies with universities, local farmers and comparison studies against competitors, as well as ongoing development of the AGGRAND Technical Service Department.
The summer of 2009 brought greener greens to Sunflower Hills golf course near Kansas City, Kansas.
17TH HOLE - Sunflower Hills Golf Course in Kansas City, Kan. took on this luxuriant look with help from AGGRAND 4-3-3 Natural Liquid Fertilizer last summer.Frank Barthol, golf course superintendent, supplemented the usual fertilization program with AGGRAND 4-3-3 on the greens.
He used five quarts of AGGRAND an acre about every two weeks. “We are very pleased with the results we have seen,” Barthol said. “The color and density of the turf has been excellent this season. I will definitely recommend this product as a supplement to our program next year.”
“we definitely saw improvements with AGGRAND that we wouldn’t have seen with only chemical fertilizers. It was a very wet year.”
Barthol anticipated problems with dollar spot fungus, 4 -to -6-inch straw-colored patches that appear as circular, blotchy areas and can combine to form large patches in a severe infestation, and purchased a barrel of fungicide for $500. “He never had to use it,” Gorby said.
Managers at the golf course plan to use AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash (0-0-8) next fall after they discovered it is $200 less expensive than the chemical fertilizers applied, Gorby said.
AGGRAND fertilizers will be used in a wider range of applications at Sunflower Hills this coming summer. The plan is to use it for flower gardens and other plants.
The AGGRAND growth plots first described in the spring issue of AGGRAND News were hit in June by a hail storm that left little hope of recovery. But, as farmers everywhere will tell you, hope springs eternal...
The hope was not in vain. The photo essay on this page shows the dramatic recovery the AGGRAND fertilized plants made during the 2010 growing season.
The plants were fertilized with AGGRAND Natural Liquid Fertilizers and tended by AGGRAND personnel throughout the growing season.
AGGRAND personnel fertilized the plants with AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer about every two weeks throughout the growing season. This season was particularly wet, according to local growers.
TOMATO PLANTS - A hail storm on June 24 did extensive damage to the tomato plants in the AGGRAND test plot in Superior, Wisconsin. “We had a setback, but the plants bounced back,” said Richard Holappa, research and development manager.
END OF THE SEASON - The tomato plants had remarkable recovery from the hail damage. They were trimmed in the final week of August to support fruit development.
BEAN PLANTS - After the hail storm hit on June 24, these bean plants looked like they might not make it.
GREAT COMEBACK - Although these beans struggled to survive, they grew lush, strong and productive with the help of AGGRAND Natural Liquid Fertilizers.
Just like humans, animals are healthier and feel better when they eat nutrient-rich foods. Also like humans, wild animals choose the best food source available, and that means higher protein levels over others. That’s what makes food plots so powerful. Proper seed selection, along with effective soil preparation, greatly increases protein levels over natural forage.
AGGRAND Natural Wildlife Food Plot Formula boosts nutrient levels, including protein, and provides the primary, secondary and micro-nutrients plants need to flourish. Improved habitat and easy access to succulent, nutrient-rich food attracts more wild game and helps grow larger, healthier animals.
AGGRAND Natural Wildlife Food Plot Formula Fertilizer contains organic materials including fish, bloodmeal and Norwegian Kelp. Organic materials feed the natural soil biology.
Often referred to as the “livestock of the soil,” this army of soil life breaks down the components of AGGRAND Food Plot Formula into plant-available nutrients. Their steady release ensures nutrients remain in the soil to support growing plants. AGGRAND Natural Wildlife Food Plot Formula is manufactured from the finest natural ingredients available, including fish, bloodmeal, Norwegian kelp, sulfate of potash and a host of other essential natural ingredients for a truly excellent all-purpose product.
AGGRAND Natural Wildlife Food Plot Formula Fertilizer also enriches the soil with increased nitrogen levels for greater soil microbial populations and better nutrient uptake in crops for healthier, more resilient plants. Other benefits of this new formula include:
• Proper sulfur levels provide high levels of protein in seed crops, forages and legumes, producing crops animals prefer.
• Potassium enables efficient use of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, regulates plant tissues and fluids and is a prime requirement in chlorophyll construction, resulting in more of the large, nutrient-rich plants that animals prefer.
• Phosphorus is important in flower, seed and fruit development, essential for vigorous growth of plant reproductive parts and facilitates efficient energy storage and transfer. Plants produce more seeds and fruit, providing more for wildlife to eat and allowing plants to re-seed themselves for better-established stands of vegetation.
The AGGRAND division also grew a test plot of winter wheat during the 2010 growing season. Bruce Carlson, a local farmer, drives the cutter-binder to harvest the wheat outside of Superior, Wis. in early August. AGGRAND personnel used AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3, Natural Liquid Bonemeal 0-12-0 and Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash 0-0-8.
The verdict is in. AGGRAND Natural Liquid Fertilizers developed heartier, more productive plants in the experimental growth plots during the 2010 season.
Preliminary and final data reveal AGGRAND fertilized crops out produced crops grown with chemical fertilizer and those grown with no fertilizer - the control plots.
AGGRAND personnel harvested in early September. “Superior (Wisconsin) is not corn country. It’s a challenge growing corn in this area, but the AGGRAND corn fared the best,” said Richard Holappa, research and development manager.
The plots were built in early spring and planted with corn, tomatoes, green beans and potatoes.
“All of the growth plots were treated in the same manner,” Holappa said. “The soil source, soil analysis, planters, weeding/cultivation, watering all were performed in the same manner for all of the plots.”
The crops in each plot were from the same source and type and all were harvested in the same day. AGGRAND fertilizing applications followed the AGGRAND Gardening Guide. The competitor’s label recommendations were followed for the chemical fertilizer. Water was applied to the control plot at the same volume when the chemical fertilizer was applied.
RESULTS - AGGRAND-fertilized corn had 18 full cobs, while the popular chemical fertilizer had nine full cobs and the control had eight full cobs. The AGGRAND cobs are fuller and larger.“As in all scientific studies, the many variables in this study were minimized to arrive at a fair comparison between AGGRAND and the popular chemical fertilizer for these particular garden vegetables,” Holappa said. “The results clearly show that AGGRAND produces more, and many times, larger produce.”
Every gardener and farmer knows the harvest is dependent on the weather. In Superior, the season is typically short at three or four months. This season was about three-and-a-half months and unusually wet.
Hail damaged some of the plants in June damaged, but they rebounded better than expected. Under the same growing conditions, AGGRAND consistently grew a greater amount of vegetables in the 2010 growth plot testing.
Results of the AGGRAND experimental growth plots are posted HERE, complete with in-depth comparisons and information.
The garden has been cleared of all the leftovers from the growing season. The leaves have been raked and the lawn mowed for the last time. This is the second harvest.
Now is the time to take care of the excess organic matter produced by your garden and other growing. Establishing a compost pile is a great way to recycle this material.
Incorporate all the compostable garden residues and get your compost heap cooking for next year’s garden.
Alternate hot and wet components like grass, leaves and garbage with drier, springier materials, such as stems, sticks and straw to improve aeration and prevent compaction.
To keep your pile active longer, sprinkle on a solution of AGGRAND 4-3-3 and Natural Liquid Lime diluted at 4 oz. per gallon of water. The lime counteracts the acidity of the leafy material and helps feed the microbes stimulated by the 4-3-3.
Add an occasional shovel full of old garden soil, to keep your compost active while the rest of the garden beds down for winter.
With regular turning and wetting down (moist, not sopping), you will end up with a nutrient- and mineral-rich material called humus that is easily used by plants when added to garden soil.
To aid the composting process, sprinkle AGGRAND 4-3-3 Natural Fertilizer on the pile (3 oz. per gallon of water) before layering or turning, and leave the top of the pile concave so liquid can seep down gradually.
One easy way to compost is to introduce composting worms, aka red wigglers (Eisenia fetida), into your pile and let them do the turning. There are several places to find them on the Internet. Cost can range around $20-25 per 1,000, which is all you need to get started.
Simply make a hole in the center of your pile and place the worms in it. Cover it with a healthy layer of fresh compostables and water with AGGRAND 4-3-3 and let the worms get to work. In a few weeks your compost pile will begin to shrink as the worms do their duty. They will even take care of household food scraps. Just remember to dig a hole for the scraps and then cover it with leaves.
VIEW FROM THE BEGINNING - (Above) A view of the growth plots as completed before planting in early May. (Below) The first week of June shows potato plants beginning to take hold.Growth plots built at the AGGRAND production facility in Superior, Wisconsin aim to provide data that gives AGGRAND Dealers and customers a straightforward view of the effectiveness of AGGRAND fertilizers and soil amendments throughout the 2010 growing season.
“This site offers the plants full sun throughout the day, but growing conditions are challenged by the frequent east winds off of Lake Superior,” said Richard Holappa, research and development manager.
Each plot contains the same soil type and crops, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, sweet corn and green beans. The main goal of this study is to compare fruit and growth rate when the AGGRAND fertilization system is compared to a popular chemical fertilizer, Miracle Grow, and to a plot with no fertilizer. Crop fertilization is based upon the AGGRAND Gardening Guide and Miracle Grow’s label recommendations.
“Throughout the growing season, qualitative evaluations will be considered such as growth vigor, vegetative health and pest resistance,” Holappa said. “At harvest, each crop will be measured for fruit weight, condition, taste and total yield.”
AGGRAND Natural Fertilizers provide benefits chemical fertilizers cannot.
“AGGRAND fertilizers add the ability for soil to improve or build itself through microbial activity, especially with Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3,” Holappa said. “Chemical fertilizers just feed the plants; they don’t enrich the soil.
“AGGRAND is environmentally friendly. The soil gets better, especially with adding compost and the nutrients of AGGRAND fertilizers, and it’s not toxic.”
Each of the AGGRAND products brings its own enrichment to the soil, Holappa said.
“Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash provides essential macronutrients for disease and drought resistance,” he said. “The potassium helps the plants breathe more efficiently and makes them more resilient in times of environmental stress. The sulfur is an essential element of amino acids that are essential for plant survival. Kelp provides chelating agents that facilitate nutritional uptake in the plant, plus micronutrients and other growth promoters.
“There are some goodies in that product. It’s good for foliar feeding too, with the uptake being 20 times quicker so plants get the benefit quicker and it’s at half the application rate of the other products.”
AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer treated potatoes June 16.Miracle Grow treated potatoes June 16.Unfertilized control potatoes June 16.
Shown here are the three potato plots planted at the AGGRAND facility on May 18.
The variety name is Superior, developed at the University of Wisconsin- Superior.
Planting was delayed because of less than desirable soil temperatures and untimely cold rains.
These photos show the beginning growth differentiation with the three growth programs, AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer, Miracle Grow and the control plot, which uses only water.
Walt Sandbeck has taken on the position of fertilizer specialist at AGGRAND. Sandbeck is a familiar face at the AGGRAND plant and has worn several hats during his tenure with the company.
Now, he provides AGGRAND technical service to Dealers seeking information. “My new position as fertilizer specialist puts me in touch with the interests and concerns of AGGRAND Dealers and customers on a daily basis,” Sandbeck said. “Their inquiries and my work with R &D manager Richard Holappa have helped me broaden my fertilizer background and given me insight into the job of developing products for the organic agriculture sector. The continuum between gardening at home and working on the AGGRAND test plots and fertility trials has made working at AGGRAND very satisfying in many respects.”
Sandbeck started at AGGRAND as a research assistant in 1998. Most recently he was the hands-on blender of AGGRAND products. In his new position, Sandbeck is “the voice” of AGGRAND, who answers customer and Dealer questions and provides recommendations. He also is back to research, helping with the growth plots planted at the company product center and off site in Poplar, Wis.
Sandbeck has 25 years’ experience as a landscaper and always has believed in natural treatments of the soil.
“Walt’s eleven years of experience working for AGGRAND, plus his past experience as a landscaper and personal passion for sustainable agriculture make him a great asset to AGGRAND and its Dealers and customers,” said Holappa, research and development manager.
Just like humans, animals are healthier and feel better when they eat nutrient-rich foods. Also like humans, wild animals choose the best food source available over others, and that means higher protein levels. That’s what makes food plots so powerful. Proper seed selection, along with effective soil preparation, greatly increases protein levels over natural forage.
AGGRAND Natural Wildlife Food Plot Formula boosts nutrient levels, including protein, by enhancing natural soil microbial activity and providing the primary, secondary and micro-nutrients plants need to flourish. Improved habitat and easy access to succulent, nutrient rich food attracts more wild game and helps grow larger, healthier animals.
This natural formula protects the environment and helps keep the ecosystem in balance, promoting sustainable agriculture and enriching the soil.
AGGRAND Natural Wildlife Food Plot Formula is available in 2.5 gallon singles or 2.5 gallon twin packs.
“Now we have a FOOD PLOT Fertilizer for the outdoorsman that not only helps provide all of us with a healthier, happier planet, “it works”… Let’s all do our part and GO GREEN.” —Milton Dailey, Ranch & Resort Television
Lush growth of AGGRAND treated succulent, compared to one that only received water.Most AMSOIL employees use AMSOIL lubricants for their quality and effectiveness; they also use AGGRAND products for the same reasons.
Technical Product Manager Molly Brown is an avid plant lover and conducted her own home experiment with AGGRAND Liquid 4-3-3 on her houseplants. Brown has more than 40 plants in her home in Duluth, Minn.
She bought two succulents at the same time. She treated one with AGGRAND 4-3-3 and the other plant she simply watered on the same schedule as the AGGRAND treated plant.
AGGRAND application rates and experiences featured here have been submitted by sources independent of AGGRAND. Your experiences may vary. Optimal application rates can vary due to soil condition, crop type, weather patterns and many other factors. AGGRAND recommends and supports soil analysis to determine optimal application rates.