We didn't harvest until late in the fall, and the temperatures are falling. Should I apply Biocat 1000 now or wait until spring?

The answer to this question depends on the expected temperature range for the near future. As the temperature falls below 50° F, the decay process will slow and then go dormant at about 38° F. However, it will resume at any time when the temperatures warm over the winter or during the spring. If the prediction is several days of daily high temperatures above 50° F, then apply Chandler Biocat 1000 and start the residue decay process. Otherwise, we generally recommend waiting until spring to apply the product.

Our weather was very dry at the end of the season. Should we apply Biocat 1000?

The decay organisms in the soil require some moisture to be active and multiply, so crop residue cannot rapidly decay if the residue and the soil surface is dry. By itself, the water used to apply Biocat 1000 does not provide enough moisture to support the residue decay process. For dry soils and residue, we recommend applying Biocat 1000 until after rainfall later in the season. For crops harvested in the fall, wait until spring to have adequate moisture in the residue and the soil for Biocat 1000 to work effectively.

Are spring applications of Biocat 1000 as effective as fall applications?

Under adequate moisture and temperature conditions, spring applications of Biocat 1000 are just as effective as fall applications. The only key disadvantage of spring applications is that the residue decay process will be completed a bit later in the season. For this reason, we generally recommend applying Biocat 1000 as soon after harvest as possible, but the spring application may be preferred if post-harvest temperatures have dropped sharply or if the residue and soil surface are dry. Some of our users actually prefer to apply the product in the spring because they can make a one-pass application of Biocat 1000 in a tank mix with their pre-emergence chemicals or liquid fertilizers.

Are there situations when Biocat 1000 does not perform as expected?

Aside from the temperature and moisture conditions, there must be some biological life in the soil that Biocat 1000 can multiply. We have found that the biological life in the soil can be depressed if the field has been treated repeatedly with heavy pesticide applications or if high rates of potassium chloride or anhydrous ammonia fertilizer have been applied. We don’t tell people how to farm, and we would never recommend stopping these practices if they are working. However, be aware that it will take longer for Biocat 1000 to decay the residue if the biological life in soil is depressed. On the other hand, Biocat 1000 will work especially well with ample biological life in the soil, which may result from using products like Chandler Soil, periodically applying manure to the field, or planting cover crops.

Can I apply Biocat 1000 in a tank mix with other products?

Yes, Biocat 1000 is compatible with the other Chandler products as well as most other pesticides and liquid fertilizers. However, we always recommend testing all new tank-mix combinations to be sure. Also, some pesticides and other products can generate heat when combined with water, and excessive heat can reduce the effectiveness of the enzymes in the Chandler products. For this reason, we also recommend adding Biocat 1000 to the tank after all other products have been diluted with water.

Do I have to incorporate Biocat 1000 after it is applied?

Because Biocat 1000 does not need to be incorporated, it is ideal for conventional tillage farming systems as well as no-till, strip tillage and minimum tillage systems. The residue decay process is aerobic, and most of the decay activity occurs in the top few inches of the soil where the decay organisms have access to air. So, it is effective to lightly incorporate the residue with a disk, chisel plow or related tillage implement as long as most of the residue remains near the soil surface where it can decay. Accordingly, Biocat 1000 will not work very well with heavy tillage on a treated field that buries most of the residue well below the soil surface.

I use a stalk shredder after I combine my corn, or I have a residue chopper on my combine. Why should I also use Biocat 1000?

Stalk shredders and other implements do help to break up corn stalks that can plug tillage implements and damage truck and tractor tires. However, the chopped residue must still be decayed, and the nutrients in the soil and residue will be tied up until the process is completed. Applying Biocat 1000 to chopped or unchopped residue speeds up the completion of the decay process and makes sure the nutrients are available for the next crop.

Some agronomists recommend applying fall nitrogen to help decay crop residue. What is the role of nitrogen in residue decay, and should I use Biocat 1000 if I also apply fall nitrogen?

We explain the relationship between nitrogen and residue decay in our technical paper on managing the decay process. One key component in this relationship is the carbon-nitrogen (C-N) ratio of the crop residue. The decay organisms use nitrogen as a food source while they are breaking down the residue, and the process takes longer if the amount of carbon-based material to decay is large relative to the feed source. The beneficial microbes in the soil can quickly and easily break down residue that has a C-N ratio of 30 or less, but most crop residue has a much higher C-N ratio. Applying nitrogen to the soil after harvest achieves a small reduction in the C-N ratio and support the residue decay process in the field. However, a large amount of nitrogen is required to make substantial reduction in the C-N ratio, and this applied nitrogen will be tied up by the decay organisms until the decay process is completed. Using Biocat 1000 with or without fall nitrogen accelerates the decay process and makes sure the nutrients are available for the next crop.

How can Biocat 1000 reduce volunteer corn and other weeds?

Biocat 1000 works to decay corn stalks and other residue from the inside, and the same thing happens to treated corn ears that are dropped in the field. As the decay organisms work from the cob out to the kernels, they decay the germ of the kernels so that they cannot germinate and will not produce volunteer corn. Biocat 1000 also helps to decay other weed seeds that remain in the soil, so we typically find less weed pressure in treated fields.

How does Biocat 1000 help to reduce plant disease outbreaks?

Some of the most troublesome plant diseases (including Goss’s wilt) are caused by harmful bacteria and fungi that reside in undecayed plant residue. As the amount of corn residue left in fields has increased in the past few years, these problems have intensified and spread farther throughout the Midwest. Biocat 1000 and the other Chandler Crop Products help to reduce this disease pressure in two ways. First, Biocat 1000 promotes early completion of the residue decay process, which removes this potential habitat for the disease organisms. Second, Chandler Soil and Biocat 1000 multiply the number of beneficial bacteria, fungi and other microbes in the soil, and these organisms helps to control the harmful microbes that cause plant diseases.

Can I apply Biocat 1000 on fields with growing crops?

Yes, we have many users who apply post-emergence treatments of Biocat 1000 to residue in fields with other growing crops. Examples include no-till corn and beans planted into corn stalks, double-cropped soybeans planted into wheat stubble, and cover crops planted into all kinds of crop residue. The enzymes and other ingredients in Biocat 1000 do not harm the growing crops but do multiply the decay organisms in the soil. So, the product accelerates the decay of the residue in the field and makes these nutrients available for use by the growing crop faster.

Can I graze livestock on fields that are treated with Biocat 1000?

Yes, the product is completely non-toxic when used as recommended, and it will not harm cattle or other livestock that graze on treated residue. Over the years, we have had a few users of Biocat 1000 who only treated part of a corn field, and they observed that their livestock tend to graze first from the treated parts of their fields, perhaps because the dropped ears and other residue in this part of the field is easier to digest.

After a few months of storage, there is a small layer of sediment or residue in the bottom of my Biocat 1000 container. Is the product still effective?

The ingredients in Biocat 1000 may settle out of solution after some time in storage, and this is the sediment that sometimes appears on the bottom of the container. To return these elements to the solution, vigorously shake the jug for several seconds before use. For Biocat 1000 in 30 gallon drums, tip the drum on edge and shake it or place the drum on its side and roll it on the ground to agitate the contents. In our warehouse, we use a stir attached to an electric drill to agitate the product in the drums. After the product has been thoroughly agitated, the sediment will return to the solution, and the product will remain to be fully effective.

For More Information

For more information on Chandler Biocat 1000, call (309) 659-7773 or e-mail info@midwestbio-tech.com.