From One Farmer To Another

What is Fulvic Acid?
Fulvic acids are a mixture of weak aliphatic and aromatic organic acids which are soluble in water and all pH conditions (acidic, neutral, and alkaline). The size of fulvic acids are smaller than that of humic acids, with molecular weights which range from approximately 1,500 or less. Of this number the carboxyl groups make up the 520 to 1120 c mol / kg range. The cation exchange capacity of fulvic acids may range from 500 to 1,000 c mol / kg (increasing with acidity). Their carbon content may range from 520 to 430 g / kg (decreasing with acidity). Their oxygen content may range from 440 to 510 g / kg (increasing with acidity). The nitrogen content may range from 43 to 7 g / kg (decreasing with acidity). The hydrogen content may range from 33 to 50 g / kg (fluctuating at all pH’s). These numbers mean that high quality fulvic acids contain many carboxyl (-COOH) and hydroxyl (-COH) groups which are more chemically reactive and plant responsive (these are also some of the best chelating agents around). The best sources of high quality fulvic acids are derived from fresh water sources of humates in the form of a Leonardite Shale.

What is Humic Acid?
Humic acids are comprised of a mixture of weak aliphatic (carbon chains), aromatic (carbon rings), sugars, amino acids, phenol groups, carboxyl groups, esters, amine’s, and trace minerals. These humic molecules are not soluble in water or acidic conditions, but are soluble in water under alkaline conditions (the sediment in the bottom of the tank which is not soluble under any pH are called Humins; these particles can be picked up in a typical analysis (lab) of humic acids and will raise the actual percentage of humic substance with no benefit to you). A high quality humic acid molecule should have a formula weight of 10,000. The formula for this segment is C130, H140, O64, N9, P, giving it a formula weight of 2881. These molecular characteristics make up less than 30% of the total humic acid molecular weight. What is the other 70% made of? Humic acids readily form salts with inorganic trace mineral elements. An analysis of extracts of naturally occurring humic acids will reveal the presence of over 60 different mineral elements. These trace elements are bound to humic acid molecules in a form that can be readily utilized by various living organisms (plants and micro-organisms). As a result, humic acids function as important ion-exchange and metal complexing (chelating) systems. Note: The molecular weight of a high quality humic acid is around 10,000 decreasing down to lower quality humic acids with molecular weights as low as 1,000. The cation exchange capacity of a humic acid will start around 300 c mol / kg and increase with acidity to 500 c mol / kg (check pH of the product you use. A high quality humic acid will start with a pH of around 9.5). The carbon content may range from 560 to 520 g / kg (decreasing with acidity). The oxygen content may range from 360 to 440 g / kg (increasing with acidity). The nitrogen content may range from 55 to 43 g / kg (decreasing with acidity). The hydrogen content may range from 67 to 33 g / kg (fluctuate at all pH’s). This is why when soil applying a product like Jenner 8, or Jenner 8 II, it is important to make sure that there is both humic and fulvic acid present. These humic substances are important to the soil while the fulvic substances are important to both the soil and foliar applications.

Why are Humic and Fulvic acids so different?
The main reason humic and fulvic acids are so different is due to the source of the raw material. There are 5 major sources of raw material to make humic and fulvic acids out of; Rutile sand deposits, Pete Moss deposits, Lignites or some times referred to as Pre-Lignitic Coals, Coal, and Leonardite or Leonardite Shales. These raw materials can all be classified as Humates.

The big difference between all these products is how old they are and how deep they are buried in the earth. The younger and the deeper they are buried, the slower they work when applied as soil applications. The younger the raw material is most important to watch. Then the deeper the product is buried would come second. Let me walk through the 5 sources listed.

Rutile sand deposits are mostly found in the Florida area. They are the youngest of the 5. Although they are not buried very deep, in my opinion, they are the weakest source of Humates available.

Pete Moss deposits are all over the Northwestern and Southeastern United States. They are commonly found in forest type geographical areas. They make good potting mixes. They are second youngest and also found on top of the ground. You will know you are dealing with a Pete Moss deposit when the Ash content is constantly referred to.

Lignites or Pre-Lignitic Coals are the most common sources of Humates on the market. This product is usually an over burden to a coal mine. There is no BTU value to this product, so the mines sell it as Humates. This product never made it to Coal, thus the term Pre-Lignitic Coal was formed. This raw source will extract a much higher source of Humic acid than all other sources. But, do not be fooled by Humic acid percentages. Higher is not always better. If you look at the highest percentage Humic acids on the market, you will also notice a large amount of sediment on the bottom of the barrel. This is the "Humin" portion of Humates. They have no value to the soil. They are great for compost piles. They will not dissolve or go into solution at any pH, unlike Humic acid and Fulvic acid. Remember to look for high Humin content in high percentage Humic acid products. The Dakota’s, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado are loaded with this type of Humate.

Leonardite or Leonardite Shale deposits are the highest quality products on the market. They have oxidized past the coal stage and are buried extremely shallow. Their Humic content may not be as high as Lignites, but their Fulvic content is much higher. Make sure to find a fresh water deposit, not a salt water deposit like most Lignites. Many producers of Humic and Fulvic acids think and classify there Humate deposits as Leonardite Shales when they are really Lignites.

Look at my definitions of Humic and Fulvic acids (Jenner 8 and Integrate descriptions too) for a better understanding of the above information.

What is micronized?
Micronized is a unique process that processes organic materials into smaller particles. Why not grind? Grinding often has a side effect called heat (over 200 degrees F). Heat can change the degrigation of a product. Grinding usually only takes products down to 150 mesh. The micronization process does not create heat during its processing. This is real important when working with composts that contain microbes which are destroyed in temperatures over 165 degrees F. It is also important in not changing the molecular structure of a product.

We recommend using our Micronized products if quality is a priority. Our standard finished product will range from 350 mesh to 1,000 mesh, with over 80% of our particle size under the 500 mesh range.

To put our products into solution add 1 lb. micronized product to 1 or 2 gallons of water and agitate. There is equipment on the market to put this product through drip irrigation and sprinklers. If you need help call Mark Turner at The Catalyst Product Group at 480-814-8318 and he will direct you to the nearest Catalyst distributor.

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