FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is BEAM ?
A: BEAM is technically a highly diverse, fungal dominant biological inoculant containing many trillions of a wide variety of soil spores and bacterial microbes.
Practically speaking it is a earthy pleasant smelling material that contains the soil microbes that will cooperate with the roots of plants to: increase germination to nearly 100% and lead to rapid germination. It boost the growth and development of plants and can lead to 50%-100% or more increases in plant yields and production.
Q: What do the letters BEAM mean?
A: BEAM stands for "Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management"; a term coined by Dr. David Johnson of New Mexico State Uni. who, along with his wife, developed a static pile compost technique that does not require turning. The important advantage of this system is the fungal hyphae are not broken apart mechanically as is the case for traditional compost procedures. Consequently, the fungal elements can proliferate and dominate. In soil the higher the fungal to bacterial ration, the greater the fertility and ability to sequester carbon.
Q: How does BEAM work?
A: Plants, fungi, bacteria and other soil microbes form a mutually beneficial 'living' system of cooperation. Plants can use photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water to produce carbon based compounds such as sugars and carbohydrates. Fungi cannot do this. Similarly, fungi and bacteria can extract minerals and micro nutrients from rocks and soil which plants cannot do. The carbon based compounds (exudates) created by the plants flow down into the roots where they nourish the soil microbes and the soil microbes supply essential minerals in a soluble form to the roots which are carried upward to the plant for its photosynthetic processes. They both benefit. If however, the soil is disrupted by tilling (plowing/discing) the network of fungi are damaged an/or destroyed. Also if the soil is left uncovered and bare the soil microbes starve from lack of exudates feeding them. Plants also suffer if there is a paucity of soil microbes and do not have the flow of necessary minerals from the soil to feed them. BEAM restores the soil microbiome community in depleted soils to promote optimal plant growth and development!
Q: How much benefit can I potentially get from using BEAM along with keeping the soil 'armoured' and keeping growing plants and cover crops providing nourishment to the soil microbes at all times.
A: Dr. Johnson has documented 100% increase in the short term and up to 500% in multiyear studies. Measured by dry weight fiber content in BEAM vs No BEAM comparisons.
Q: Does BEAM increase soil carbon? Does it help water infiltration and retention?
A: BEAM caused soil carbon increases (sequestration) 20-50 times the currently observed increases in most equivalent no-till soils tested. BEAM usage has been shown to lead to the storage of 10.7 metric tons of carbon annually per Hectare (2.5 acres) in the soils in long term studies. For every increase percentage point of soil carbon (For example, increasing carbon in the soil from 1% to 2%) results in more than 20,000 gallons of water per acre infiltrating into the soil. Carbon increase the porosity of the soil and helps retain water to aid plants surviving and thriving through dry periods.
Q: How about fertilizers? Do I still need to use it?
A: Studies have shown after BEAM usage the need for fertilizer inputs decrease or is eliminated. Nitrogen fertilizers actually cause less natural 'association' between roots and fungi and so are not beneficial to the natural process of plant root/soil microbe cooperation and mutual benefit.