Guidelines to the DTA Program

DTA Soil Microbial Structure Guide

Click here to download these guidelines as a pdf document.

Start with a Soil Test

  • We need the following sampled: Organic Matter, P2, K, Mg, Ca, CEC, S, Cl, N: test Nitrate, (TKN), Ammonia N, and Organic N, Base Saturation: K, Mg, Ca, Na
  • The above samples should be run a minimum of every three years.
  • Run PT2 on several samples to see what the true levels of minerals are.
  • Soil Health (Haney Test) should be run (Mid July – Mid Aug) to monitor progress on the program.

Monitor Acidity

pH is an accurate assessment of acidity chemically.  It, by itself, isn’t a good way to monitor acidity biologically.  We look at the pH:CEC Ratio. The formula is:

pH:CEC Ratio = pH/CEC + ( (OM – 2) /100) ) .  A ratio above a .4 is conducive to microbial life and the addition of our microbial rich program.

Correct Acidity

If we are below a .4 on the pH:CEC ratio one of several things needs to happen.

  • Do one of the following:
    • Apply 1000# /acre of hi calcium low magnesium ag lime for two consecutive years
    • Grow a spring cover crop which produces CO2 (natural buffer).
    • Apply 2-4 ton of dry manure.  This will create carbonic acid (liquid manure doesn’t serve as a buffer because of the high level of hydrogen).
  • Retest year 3 and monitor progress.

Correct Magnesium

Soil that is high in magnesium & low in bio available calcium.

Soils with magnesium above 17% base saturation are generally tight and compact easily.  We have seen a benefit of applying Gypsoil.

  • Apply 1-ton Gypsoil for two consecutive years. Approved for conventional acres only.
  • Retest year 3 and monitor progress.

On organic production.

  • Use Sulfur through Calcite Turbo S and Organic Living Carbon S
  • Be prepared to do fall sub soiling.

Address Compaction

Chloride is an indication of how well water is percolating through the soil.  Monitor chloride levels to determine where compaction is at:

  • 0-5 Compaction usually not present.
  • 6-10 Usually not present but fields to observe.
  • 11 + Check for compaction and mechanically address.

The above basic principles need to be addressed before truly entering a microbial program.  Biology is a powerful force, but it needs an atmosphere in which to live.

The Program

3 years of alfalfa and its 3rd crop. Big quality and tons again!

The program is centered around structured calcium (calcite) and biology (manure).  If you have manure, that is where we start. If you don’t, we provide it in the form of our Living Carbon product.

Farm owned manure:

Guidelines to the DTA Program

This is a microscopic magnification of calcite that we use for structure.

We start out with a 500 # application of Calcite Turbo S (CTS) or 275# of Organic CTS on all manured or compost-applied soil.  Ideally, top applied manure or compost should be worked into the soil within 24 hours to limit carbon burn off. Our rate recommendations are as follows.

Liquid Dairy or Beef

  • 5000 gallons per acre

Swine

  • 3000 gallons per acre

Dry manure, compost, or poultry manure

Soil CEC 1-5

  • 2 to 4-ton dry manure, compost, or poultry manure

Soil CEC 6-8

  • 1 to 2-ton dry manure, compost, or poultry manure

Soil CEC 9-35

  • 1/2 to 1-ton dry manure, compost, or poultry manure

No farm owned manure:

Living Carbon is the product we use when there is no owned manure.  Living Carbon brings in both the biology and the structured calcium in one package. The rate will vary between 500 and 1000# per acre.  It is essential that Living Carbon is either applied onto a cover crop or worked into the soil within 24 hours. It is vital that Living Carbon is not sitting on bare soil surface for longer than 24 hours.  On all soils, but particularly low CEC soils (under 9), we recommend the use of a cover crop. This will enhance organic acids and soil biology.

Crop specific recommendations

Corn

On our program. 106th day Corn Silage Variety in Fillmore County MN on sod ground. Harvested 28.7 tons at 65% DM.

Corn planting depth should be 2”

Apply:

  • Manure/CTS at the recommended rate or Living Carbon at a rate of 500# / acre
  • 6 ¼ gallon blend including the following, on seed in row.
    • 3 gallons of 8-22-2.25 Zn or equivalent starter. Approved on conventional only.
    • 3 gallons of Liquid Living Carbon (LLC)
    • 1 quart of Soil Release with worm casting extract
  • Side dress at planting either a protected nitrogen (40# N actual) or 1 quart N-Hold with 5 gallons of 28% or 32% liquid nitrogen.
  • Final nitrogen needs should be applied 5-6 weeks after planting.  Take TKN credit (see chart below) off of the normal rates you would use.
  • Recommend foliar application of 3 gallons of LLC before tasseling.

Take compacted areas and continuous corn on corn into consideration with nitrogen recommendations.

TKN # Yr 1 N Yr 2 N Yr3 N
PPM Nitrogen Credit Credit Credit
/Acre /Acre /Acre /Acre
700 1400 32 61 89
800 1600 37 70 101
900 1800 41 79 114
1000 2000 46 87 127
1100 2200 51 96 139
1200 2400 55 105 152
1300 2600 60 114 164
1400 2800 64 122 177
1500 3000 69 131 190
1600 3200 74 140 202
1700 3400 78 149 215
1800 3600 83 157 228
1900 3800 87 166 240
2000 4000 92 175 253
2100 4200 97 184 266
2200 4400 101 192 278
2300 4600 106 201 291
2400 4800 110 210 304
2500 5000 115 219 316

When on the DTA Soil Microbial program you can utilize a nitrogen credit. For example, with a 1300 PPM TKN you would take 60# nitrogen off your normal rates first year on the program. This credit increases as you continue on the program.

On Organic Corn

  • 3¼ gallon blend including the following, on seed in row
  • 3 gallons of Liquid Living Carbon ( LLC )
  • 1 quart of Soil Release with worm casting extract
  • Add non-chlorinated water to desired rate
  • Foliar apply 3 gallons of LLC before tasseling.

Beans

Beans should be planted at 1 ¼”.

Apply:

  • Manure/CTS at the recommended rate or Living Carbon at a rate of 750# / acre
  • 3¼ gallon blend including the following, on seed in row
  • 3 gallons of Liquid Living Carbon ( LLC )
  • 1 quart of Soil Release with worm casting extract
  • Add non-chlorinated water to desired rate
  • Foliar apply 3 gallons of Liquid Living Carbon at flowering

New seeding Alfalfa

Apply:

  • Manure/CTS at the recommended rate or Living Carbon at a rate of 1000# / acre
  • Best applied at seeding or after first cutting.

Alfalfa

Apply:

  • Manure/CTS at the recommended rate or Living Carbon at a rate of 1000# / acre

Small Grains

1 ton of Carbon Cal over 92 acres of rye really did the trick in Darlington WI!

Apply:

  • Manure/CTS at the recommended rate or Living Carbon at a rate of 500# / acre
  • 3¼ gallon blend including the following, on seed in row
  • 3 gallons of Liquid Living Carbon (LLC)
  • 1 quart of Soil Release with worm casting extract
  • Add non-chlorinated water to desired rate
  • Apply nitrogen at normal levels, reduce nitrogen year 2

Last Revised March 3, 2018