Humates are a very soft coal called leonardite. They're primarily carbon with a lot of trace minerals and they're normally ground quite fine. They provide a lot of good carbons derived from ancient trees or jungle, etc.
Humates come in 2 forms, the dry form and the liquified form. What they do is grind the leanardite to make a dry humate. They can also take those dry ground humates and put that in with various alkalizing substances to make a liquid. The liquid is actually made soluble so it's not just in suspension, but it's soluble liquid humate. We work a lot with soluble liquid humates and when they're made right, they can help supply carbons in the soil. They also stimulate biology and do a lot of good things.
Humates have carbon which causes the soil to have a tendency to rise, humates always want to come up in the soil, always seeking to come to the surface, just like a cork in the water that always wants to float. So what we use dry humates for especially is to carbonize limestone, because when we put calcium out in the form of limestone, it wants to sink into the soil and as it sinks it goes out of the root zone.
The thing that we've done is use dry humates to mix in with powdered limestone. We use 15 lbs. per ton of dry quarry limestone and we mix that in. It mixes in very easily, it just kind of electromagnetically mixes right in. It turns the white limestone a gray color and we basically have a really nice product because the limestone wants to go down and the carbons up. They get in each other's way, and that allows more time for the biology to break down the limestone and release the calcium out of it. It works out really good. The carbonized limestone works really well to make the calcium more available by giving the microbes more time to digest the limestone.
For most all other applications we're recommending the use of small quantities of liquified humates because they're already soluble and ready to go to work. The dry humates as far as the stimulating effect on biology, it's just not very quick.
We offer humates in 50 lb. bags on pallets and it's very fine stuff that can be mixed with limestone. If you're interested in liquids, you can contact our office for pricing and availability of products.
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International Ag Labs
800 W. Lake Ave.
PO Box 788
Fairmont, Minnesota 56031