24 run drill

Why would I use a foliar at this point in the season?

We were asked by a grower this week, “Why would I use a foliar at this point in the season?”

When plants are trying to turn flowers into fruit, fertility availability is essential.  OMRI Listed Purple Cow CX-1 (liquid biological) enhances this fertility as plants can take nutrient thru their leaves up to 10x faster than thru their roots.  This extra nutrient push minimizes the number of flowers “aborted” by the plant and can help set pods, add kernels, and set the stage for filling/ripening the grain.

The ultimate goal, of course, is quality and yield.

If you see leaves turning colors other than green, this can be the plant trying to get nutrients they are not getting from the soil.  Translocating these nutrients from the leaves can leave a plant susceptible to pests and diseases.  Especially in cool wet years like we’ve had in many parts of the upper midwest, the plant’s roots are not able to explore the saturated soil, stranding those valuable nutrients and leaving your crop lacking. Foliar applications of a liquid biological like Purple Cow CX-1 can help with nutrient availability in times of excessive moisture.

Overall plant health is critical for the plants ability to fend off disease and pest pressures; we knew this decades ago before we began a reactive mono-management approach to plant health:

Insect and disease are the symptoms of a failing crop, not the cause of it.  It’s not the overpowering invader we must fear but the weakened condition of the victim.

-William Albrecht

Insect and disease pressure can be caused by:

  • a nutrient excess or deficiency
  • lack of biological diversity
  • a monoculture system that provides too great a host population.

Biologicals can work proactively in several different modes of action including:

  • Competitive Exclusion
  • The Production of Natural Antibiotics
  • Systemic Acquired Resistance
  • Induced Systemic Resistance

While Purple Cow CX-1 is not a registered fungicide or pesticide, in can contribute to systemic plant health and protection in a number of ways:

Competitive Exclusion

One organism creates an environment that is unwelcoming for another, effectively excluding the second organism from becoming established without directly killing it. An example of this would be the creation of film on a root surface. To prevent pathogens from infecting the plant.

Production of natural antibiotics

The production of secondary metabolites occurs more readily when there exists balanced minerals and diverse and robust biology


Some microbes (gram-positive bacteria) consume pathogens (like botrytis and anthracnose) as a food source. This is especially important in the fall as biological digestion of cellulose can clean the environment that can harbor pests and diseases