What's in CarbonWorks? | Webinar

August 8, 2023

To earn more profit on every acre, you must deliver 3 essential nutrients to every acre.

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What’s in CarbonWorks? 

At the heart of our products are three essential ingredients: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Sorry to disappoint, but there’s no magical ingredient that defies logic and nature. There are no complex chemicals with long names that you can’t pronounce. There are no “secrets” too amazing to share. In fact, CarbonWorks has been in the business of sharing our knowledge with growers across the United States since day one. 

The Beginning: How a Quest for Answers Pointed to Carbon

I’m a farmer like you. While I think it’s important to always seek out new and better ways to grow our crops, cutting-edge theories and experiments don’t always add up at the end of the day. Why? I need to make money. If my agronomy program doesn’t bring an ROI to my operation, I’m in trouble. I need the dollars I spend to multiply, or the math simply doesn’t add up and my farm will be in danger. 

In fact, 18 years ago my farm was in trouble. I was growing oranges along with specialty row crops (things you and I eat) in Florida. This state is home to millions and millions of people and hoards of tourists who just happen to be very thirsty and drink a lot of water. (It’s hot down here.) You’d think Florida of all places would have unlimited water; we’re nearly surrounded by water. But the truth is, our water wells have been so depleted that even our deep ag wells draw in salt water from the ocean. And crops don’t like salt water. Plus, our soils don’t have that rich, black carbon-rich structure that our Midwest friends have in abundance. 

The usual strategies I had been told to use, strategies that generations of farmers before me had depended on, were no longer working. 

So I set out to find some answers. My search led me to California, Idaho, and other locations on the West Coast. These areas had similar soils to mine. Growers out there were using a class of carbon-based products called humic acids. (They’re not really acidic, but we’re not going to jump in that rabbit hole here.) They opened my eyes to the power of carbon and its ability to act as a carrier for other vital nutrients, and CarbonWorks was born. 

What Do You Need for Survival?

You might be thinking, “oh, I see, CarbonWorks created another humic acid product.” Not quite. Here’s a question for you: In order to survive (to continue living), what do you need? Basically, you won’t make it without food, water, and oxygen. Now, which one will kill you the fastest if you couldn’t get it? Oxygen. It’s your number one need for survival. At CarbonWorks, we don’t just bottle carbon in jugs. We use carbon’s unique ability as a carrier to deliver loads of oxygen (along with hydrogen energy) to your soil, where microbes can make use of it to better thrive and support your crop. 

Focus on the Environment, then Focus on Feeding

One of our partner agronomists said it best: You can’t just dump a bunch of microbes into the soil (or any product, for that matter) and expect results. You need to create the right environment for growth first. This is why I say that CarbonWorks products are designed to work with the rest of your agronomy program, not replace it. 

You’ve probably heard of the “fence line effect.” Someone tears out a fence line, and when he plants a crop in that area, those rows are greener, taller, and overall healthier than the rest of the field. Why? The environment is healthier there. The soil texture is more conducive to growth. The balance of nutrients and biologicals is right on. In short, the soil there has been left alone for decades and not subjected to the synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals we’ve been told to use to increase our yields. 

Let me ask you another question: Have you ever wondered how a forest manages to thrive? Shouldn’t the productivity of the forest ecosystem be low? There are no sprayers making passes through the underbrush. No one is “feeding” the plants there. I could pose the same question about the prairies that used to blanket the Midwest. How did they grow such a robust “crop” of plants each year? Because the soil environment was in perfect balance. CarbonWorks’ goal is to help restore this balance to your fields.

You Can’t Outrun a Poor Environment with More Chemicals 

Remember,  our products supply three simple ingredients: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Oxygen to help the microbes breathe; hydrogen energy to “wake up” the soil biology; and pure, food-grade carbon that acts as (no surprise) a food source. No magic, no mile-long chemical formulas. Again, our focus on the soil environment—providing support and food for soil microbes so they, in turn, can better support your crop. 

This is where our approach radically differs from conventional wisdom. Has the conventional approach even earned the right to be called “conventional”? Most of the synthetic fertilizers we depend on today appeared after World War II. 

The large multinational corporations who supply these inputs also supply a common wisdom: If it’s not working, just apply more! This is the approach that your father and grandfather were told to use. More nitrogen. More fungicide. More pesticide. More herbicide. Remember my story? I tried the “more, more, more” approach with my crops. The corporations and their shareholders saw a huge benefit to their bank accounts. Unfortunately, I didn’t! I was in a losing battle. 

When your soil ecosystem is out of balance, you can’t just keep dumping more chemicals on it and hope for a miracle. The true miracle is God’s design for our natural world. When you allow that to work, your farm will thrive. 

What Happened When We Put CarbonWorks to Its True Test?

Restoring balance to our soil ecosystem and building a healthy soil foundation for generations to come is a powerful motivator to me. After all, we should be farming for our future and protecting our resources so those of us on the planet can continue to eat. But I’m also a business owner. I need to see ROI. I need to make money so I can pay my bills and keep my farm operating. 

About 14 years ago, I brought CarbonWorks products to the Midwest—an area of the country where corn is king. And that makes soybeans queen, I guess? The soils are rich and black in corn country. This was the perfect testing ground for CarbonWorks products. You see, in poor soil, someone could say that it’s the carbon in CarbonWorks that’s doing all the heavy lifting. So what would happen when we applied CarbonWorks products to ground that was already carbon-rich? 

Impressive ROI. And not just according to CarbonWorks: we have 13 years of replicated, third-party research studies—beginning with AgRevival, a Minnesota-based research company, and growing to involve other companies and farms as well—that have confirmed the effectiveness of our approach. Again, CarbonWorks isn’t solely concerned with simply dumping mega amounts of “food” into the soil. That’s the conventional fertilizer approach. 

The practical effect of CarbonWorks’ products in the soil is to support and enhance the photosynthesis process by providing oxygen and energy to the soil microbes. Soil microbes typically get 50% of their energy from a plant’s sugars, which the plant produces during the photosynthesis process. With the additional molecular oxygen and hydrogen energy provided to the microbes, the plant is free to reserve more of its sugar for doing “plant stuff”: growing taller, adding more branches, and increasing its yield potential. 

Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen: Restore Balance and Curb Fertilizer Use 

When we provide the soil microbes with additional oxygen and hydrogen, they’re able to more effectively break down the sugars they receive from the plants through their roots. Microbes can’t process the sugars without oxygen, and they need hydrogen energy to help them break down and convert the sugars. In turn, more nutrients pass from the invigorated microbes into the plants (better absorption). We’re back to our founding principle again: you need to encourage a healthy soil environment by restoring its natural balance, which includes a robust colony of soil biology ready to work for your farm. 

So what have our trials (and farmers’ practical experience) with CarbonWorks products in the Midwest taught us? Well, we’ve seen consistent 7 to 15 bu/ac yield increases when CarbonWorks CetaiN® is applied with nitrogen during sidedress (at a rate of ½ ounce to a gallon of 32% N). Again, carbon has the ability both to bind nutrients to the soil and make them more plant available. Because of this, growers using CarbonWorks’ products have been able to reduce the amount of conventional fertilizers they apply. Sometimes as much as 10–15%. A typical 32% N application is only 25% plant available. Microbes must convert this N to plant-available forms. Feed and support your microbes (and better bind your N application to the soil) and your inputs will do a lot more for your farm. 

As I’ve said before, we’re not asking you to ditch your agronomy program for “miracle” products.

Our products are designed to work with and enhance your agronomy program by supplying three essential nutrients—carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen—to power your soil biology.

When this ecosystem is in better balance and operates more efficiently, you can cut your dependence on (expensive) synthetic fertilizers. 

Categories Aren’t Important. Commitment Is.   

As humans, we love to categorize things. It’s a necessary part of life; it helps us make sense of the world. So if you want to lump CarbonWorks in with regenerative ag—or put us in another bucket—that’s fine. What’s important is that once you begin supporting your farm’s natural soil biology, you stick with it. Yes, we’ve shown over and over in research trials and on farms just like yours that CarbonWorks’ products bring ROI. Wet year. Dry year. Leap year. And we’ve designed our products to fully integrate into your existing agronomy plan. And growers have told us over and over that our products are easy to use. No extra passes, no antagonizing your other inputs. 

Like any achievement in life, your long-term success depends on consistency. You can use our crop-specific agronomy plans to guide you along the way. And you can join in on our farmer sharing calls and benefit from the knowledge that growers from across the country are freely sharing with each other. Just remember that the ultimate goal of restoring balance to your soil ecosystem will take time. Be ready to see ROI this year, but be patient enough to stick with the program to truly lay a foundation that will  make your farm stronger for tomorrow. Remember carbon, hydrogen and oxygen: Three ingredients that power CarbonWorks, and three ingredients that will grow your farm for future generations.

George Sims