Biologically Focused Agricultural Products
For Sustainability & Wellbeing
Frequently Asked Questions
Click a question below to reveal the answer.
What is the difference between humic acid and fulvic acid?
Fulvic acid is the lowest molecular weight portion of humic substances. By definition it will be golden in color where humic acid will be brown to black. Because of its small molecular size, fulvic acid is able to penetrate the leaf and even the mitochondria of a cell which makes it great for foliar sprays and root drenches. By comparison humic acid is a fantastic soil conditioner and better for dry broad cast and soil/soil-less application. Typically each manufacturer will provide a product analysis differentiating the fulvic from the humic; however some states do not accept fulvic acid analysis and will refer to all substances as humic acids. To further confuse things, a standardized industry method for analyzing humic substances does not exist. This creates a wide range of concentrations and analysis for humic products. At the end of the day it is best to conduct bioassays and test the products yourself to see which one will perform best. For more information on humic substances properties visit Properties of Humic Substances.
Why such dramatic price and application differences?
Is it raw, is it soluble, partially both? Is it concentrated or watered down, are the application rates because of what works or because of limitations due to the other chemicals involved, how many chemical processes have been applied to it? These are just a few differentiations not typically included on the label. As example, many popular soil brands use the term “humic acids” as a draw or value added item. However, they often contain raw ore and very little at that. Raw ore is not soluble, it takes years to break down, and it requires hundreds of pounds of material per acre (200-500) compared to a couple of pounds (5-10) of our soluble. Not to suggest that there isn’t a time or place for raw, but the simple truth is it won’t work on today’s crop or container gardens. Paying more for something that adds no value makes little sense to anyone. If you remember one thing from all this it’s that labeling does not account for the large amount of product variation. You’re going to have to do some homework.
Why are there so many variances in product analysis and concentration claims?
Currently there isn’t an industry standard for procedural analysis of humic and fulvic acids, although the new method proposed by the HPTA and recently adopted by the State of Oregon has gained traction. Therefore suppliers use different test methods, which ultimately yield different results. Many tests lack thorough quantitative analysis, so often suppliers will use the test with the highest results. The same substance sent to different labs will come back with a variety of numbers, depending on the labs methods. As an example, by the Verplogh and Brandvold method Ful-Power fulvic measures 8%. By the Classical Method the same fulvic measures .6%. The classical method more closely resembles the new HPTA method. It’s noteworthy that when measuring for fulvic acid many tests include the weight of the chemical salts and other additives and acids, leftover from the extraction method (Ful-Power has zero chemical salts or additional acids in it). The classical method will eliminate this. Please beware of anyone claiming unreasonable concentrations of liquid fulvic acid. The highest known liquid extractions are around 15% but are so chemically adulterated at this saturation that it’s suspect to if they even work (of you see 70-90% it’s likely a reference to the raw ore parent material and not the liquid).
Why do you not sell Ag grade Fulvic Acid in some states?
Because of the lack of industry standardized quantitative analysis, different states have different registration requirements. As example, neither Oregon nor California recognize fulvic acid as its own substance and instead refer to all of these substances under the humic acid umbrella.
Why are humic substances sometimes called Leonardite?
True Leonardite comes from the hills of the Dakotas and was discovered by Dr. Leonard. Over time the name became confused with all humic substances, and lack of standardization has continued the misnomer. The humic substances found in Dr. Leonards particular area where low in fulvic acid (the lowest molecular weight) but high in humic acid content, and thus gave these substances spotty results. The low fulvic portion is because of the geological uplift and cracking which allowed the material to become weathered, literally rinsing out the fulvic portion. (akin to leaving your compost in the rain for thousands of years). Additionally, the source material for this humic substance was formed in the presence of salt water marshes. While high humic substances have benefits to the soil, we prefer a source that is high in humic and fulvic acid. We call this agricultural grade as that’s it’s best use. This means the source has not been leached or weathered and was made in the presence of fresh water where cycads and other leafy greens were growing. These are natural deposits and so we are always testing and have the ability to source from the best sites. We currently source from within the U.S., but never stop learning about new areas.
Why are adding humic acids so important...aren't they in the soil already?
Humic acids used to be abundant in our soil and water systems. However, modern agricultural methods have depleted the soil and our city water systems filter humic substances out. Even in organic agriculture it’s important to add humic substances as stimulants for microbes and food for worms, whether that’s in the form of tons of compost or pounds of humic acids. Additionally, while humic acid will remain stable in the soil, fulvic acid is used up rather quickly. In conventional farming humic acids are an important first step when trying to transition to sustainable methods. In sustainable and organic farming the addition of humic acids play an important role in the holistic system and promotes soil and plant health naturally.
In what systems and ways are humic substances used?
BioAg’s humic and fulvic acid products can be used in almost any system. They are used for conventional, sustainable, organic, biodynamic, bioremediation, compost teas and as an additive to premium crop products. Different products have different strengths, but generally they can be used in any agricultural system.
How much should I use and when should I use it?
Humic substances are naturally derived. They are often used in agriculture to help achieve sustainability and in bioremediation to help reclaim polluted soil and water. As such, concentrations will vary depending on the needs of the crop or soil, the micro-climate, the soil type and desired results. However, general application rates can be found on our technical data sheets, located under each product. It is best not to exceed these rates, especially without running some tests. Humic substances are best applied in smaller amounts over the life of the crop rather than a large amount all at once. However, for some applications this is just not practical. If you are a farmer, turf manager, orchard manager, greenhouse grower, product developer or otherwise and want recommendations on using our products with your system please contact us.
Do you make a liquid humic acid product?
In general we only make a fulvic liquid. Our humic products are dry fine or mixed granular and are made using a dry to dry conversion, which means they are not over-heated and denatured. They are shipped dry for easy long-term storage (as liquids can degrade in your shed over-time) and for lower shipping costs. Our products are concentrated and 85% soluble. There is up to 15% insoluble mineral. If liquifying this mineral can be settled out and spread over the field or garden. In general 1 pound of Ful-Humix is equal to one-two gallons of competitors liquid products.
What particle size and quantities do you offer?
Ful-Power comes in an easy to use liquid. Our powder humic acid products come in fine and granular sizes for easy application in multiple systems and can be blended in dry form with Urea, Calcium, or other prilled fertilizers.
Where can I buy your products near me?
BioAg humic products for agriculture and remediation are sold in farm, greenhouse and indoor/outdoor garden stores nationwide. If there is a store near you where you’d like to see our products, let us know and we’ll contact them.