In the previous article in our series on humus we discussed the role of compost in creating stable humus.  Another great tool to preserve and achieve the formation of stable humus in your soil is to make use of humic and fulvic acids. Humic and fulvic acids are naturally occurring substances with incredible Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) readings. (This is a calculated value based on an estimate of a particular soils ability to attract, retain and exchange cation elements.)

Their great benefit is that they are a quality food source for the microbial life in your soil.  Luxury levels of humic and fulvic acid are therefore integral to supporting the abundant, vigorous community of life in the soil that you need for healthy crop growth.  Both humic and fulvic acids are available as agricultural products, and can be added to the soil or used as a foliar feed.

Sources of Humic and Fulvic Acids
There are many producers of humic and fulvic acids, and the quality of their products varies greatly.  Obviously, you want to use a high quality product, and so it is important that you check the producer’s sources.  Many commercially available products contain humic and fulvic acids extracted from brown coal, and this is one of the poorer sources.   Better sources include humic and fulvic acids extracted from a leonardite source or from natural plant matter such as almond husks.  The less processed the product is the better, as the humic and fulvic acids will be more palatable to your microlife.  Make sure you buy from a reputable producer, and use the product on a trial basis, such as a test on tomato plants, to gauge its effectiveness.

How Avondale Makes Use of Humic and Fulvic Acids
At Avondale, as part of our holistic BioLOGIC® approach, we use humic and fulvic acids as additions to most of our nutrient and microlife applications, such as:

  • with any nutrient application
  • as a microbial food source, added whenever applying microbial inoculations
  • with most foliar sprays and nutrition

It is available in concentrated powder and liquid forms.  We use small amounts on a regular basis.  We use fulvic acid as a foliar feed where it helps not only to increase the vines uptake of nutrients but also feeds the beneficial free living microlife on the vine.  This helps with disease control as it nurturing the micro life we want on the leaves of the vine.

The Benefits of Humic and Fulvic Acids

As the food source for high and healthy populations humic and fulvic acids make a significant contribution to the creation of stable humus in your soil.  The benefits of stable humus include:

  • It increases the soil’s cation exchange capacity , and therefore its ability to store nutrients in a chelated form, which makes them available to plants and prevents them from being leached out of the soil by rain or irrigation
  • It retains water in the soil increasing plants ability to withstand drought and reducing the consumption of water for irrigation
  • It provides the environment for plants, animals and microlife to coexist in the soil
  • It’s biochemical structure enables it to regulate high acidity or high alkalinity in the store, thus helping to maintain a healthy pH balance

It is important for conventional farmers to note that they too can benefit from making use of humic and fulvic acids.  By nurturing a community of life that promotes humus formation they can reduce their need for costly chemical fertilisers.  A conventional farmer who makes use of a decent form of humic acid may reduce their use of fertiliser by 25%.

You can find the first three articles in our Humus Series here:

An Introduction to Humus

Why has Humus become a Depleted Resource

How to Create Stable Humus Compost

Plus, enjoy these fascinating insights on Humus from Graham Sait here:

Graeme Sait on Humus