The Increased Use of Beneficial Microorganisms in Commercial Agriculture

Commercial agriculture has always had a bad rap for over using chemicals leading to soil lacking in microbial life. However, commercial growers are increasingly becoming more educated on the benefits of microorganisms and their importance in soil health. EM Technology® has been used in agriculture since 1982 in various areas around the world. EM® products work in all soil types, all farming systems and all climates. From row crops and orchards to composting and aquaculture, EM® can improve the efficiency of an operation and result in higher yields and more nutritious produce.

How is EM Technology® used in Commercial Agriculture?

Soil Amendment


EM-1® Microbial Inoculant accelerates the soil building process and promotes beneficial soil microbe communities. The soil building process revolves around soil aggregate formation. Soil aggregates form as mineral and decomposed organic matter particles are bound together by soil organism secretions that act as glues. Stable and well-formed soil aggregate is the key to overall soil function. The high levels of polysaccharides, organic acids, and enzymes produced by EM-1® help build stable aggregate and soil structure. Structure is key in reducing erosion, run-off, compaction and increasing moisture as well as absorb and retain nutrients.


Soils rich in organic matter, such as beneficial soil microbes, treated with organic fertilizers will require significantly less EM-1® than soils with low organic matter and those treated with conventional synthetic fertilizers. Nitrate is prone to leaching into the sub-soil before much of it is used by the plant. Soil microbes can use it and make it part of amino acid chains. EM-1® helps to improve soil's nitrogen cycling at two points. First, when EM-1® creates a reducing environment as raw organic nitrogen is decomposed eventually into nitrate, reducing the amount of mineralization of nitrogen and carbon. Second, when forming amino acids that provide a slow release food source for plants.


Large scale composting facilities face challenges when it comes to properly aerating compost piles. New and turned piles quickly begin to go anaerobic which can lead to pathogen growth, production of greenhouse gases and odors, and attraction of pests. Frequent turning of piles can cost farms in equipment and man hours as well as release ammonia and methane gases into the air. EM-1® is compatible with numerous types of commercial composting systems and can be used to effectively treat compost odor, green waste, livestock waste, food waste, and most other agricultural, industrial wastes that will be composted. There are four methods of composting when using EM Technology®;

Aerobic Method: The turners and tumblers for composting are designed to allow air into the materials you with to compost. During this process, turning the contraption often and adding water keeps the materials moist. Adding EM-1® Microbial Inoculant to a compost pile helps increase the air flow into the pile, increasing the aerobic microbe populations in the pile. This means you can get more air transfer in a pile with less turning and less work. Add 10 oz of Activated EM-1® for every cubic feet of material (or 90 oz per cubic yard).


Static Pile (Anaerobic Method): This is usually for larger items like sticks and leaves that will take a longer time to break down than grass and food scraps. These piles are usually left for about a year and may be turned once or twice during that time. Add 10 oz of Activated EM-1® for every cubic foot or material (or 90 oz per cubic yard).


Trenching: Get rid of those piles and just dig a hole or trench. After digging a hole or trench that will hold all the organic materials you want to break down, simply back-fill the hole with the materials. As you add them to the hole, spray them until moist with a mixture of water and Activated EM-1®. Add about 10 oz of Activated EM-1® for every cubic foot of material (or 90 oz per cubic yard).


EM-1® Bokashi (Semi-Anaerobic): This is a quick fermentation method that is centuries old. Organic materials (carbon, leaves, grass, wood chips, etc.) are collected and piled. If adding fresh manure mix at a ration of 1 carbon : 20 parts manure. As the materials are piled, water with a solution of EM-1®, molasses, and water (1:1:100). The moisture content of the pile should be about 30-35% moisture. Once moisture is achieved, cover with a tarp and weigh down with rocks and let fermentation take place for about two weeks (the longer the better). After fermentation is complete, the material is ready to incorporate into the soil. White mold is normal and actually a sign of success. Add 1 to 1.5 gallons of EM-1® per cubic yard, diluted into the water that is used to reach proper moisture for composting.

Seed Treatment

Soaking seeds in an EM-1® solution stimulates seed germination which increases germination rates and generates healthier and sturdier seedlings at the same time. Applying EM-1® to the soil at the time of transplanting also helps young seedlings as the microbes go to work conditioning the soil and converting organic materials into rich humus food for plants.




Small Seeds


20-30 minutes

Medium Seeds


30-60 minutes

Large Seeds


2-3 hours

Foliar Feeding

Research has demonstrated that applying nutrients through their leaves is a great way to increase micronutrients in plants to supplement deficiencies in the soil. At certain times of the day the stoma are open. As a rule of thumb, it is best to do foliar feeding in the early evening as the sun is going down. Savvy farmers know this and take advantage of it, applying foliar fertilizers at a light dilution to give a boost to their plants' foliar feeds. EM-1® can be applied the same way and mixed with plant nutrients for enhanced foliar fertilization. The byproducts of the beneficial bacteria populations in EM-1® include antioxidants, bioflavonoids, vitamins, and other micronutrients that support plant health. Application rates vary depending on the crop being grown.


Greenhouses are intensive growing environments that can extend the growing season and increase crop yields. Plants in greenhouses may also experience stress due to heat and soil drying out. EM-1® supports greenhouse environments in several key ways;

  • Grows and supports high quality greenhouse crops, potted plants, and seedlings.
  • Enhances greenhouse horticulture and floriculture naturally by quickly establishing a beneficial micro-ecology that promotes extremely stable growing conditions and safeguards against common stress-related problems, such as over watering.
  • Maintains organic greenhouse standards and is approved for use without restrictions on Certified Organic operations.
  • Enhances greenhouse fertilizer and helps maintain plant health with antioxidants, enzymes, and organic acids.
  • Help reduce problems associated with soils drying out and being re-hydrated due to improved soil texture and structure.



From vegetables to fish and shrimp, EM-1® can be used effectively in ponds and aquaculture systems. Over-stocking and over-population problems can cause an excess of ammonium nitrogen in the water. Too much waste causes fish to be susceptible to diseases as well as increases BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) and drops dissolved oxygen and microbial activity. EM-1® has been shown to drop BOD significantly and decrease waste in water systems. Whether a fresh water pond or a stock pond, add 1 part EM-1® Microbial Inoculant per 10,000 parts water in the system. Frequency of application varies according to the type of fish grown and the type of system being used. 

Below is a video on EM and its use in aquaculture.

Happy to help.

If you would like more information on EM Technology® and its benefits for agriculture please email or call us. We can also give you a detailed protocol with exact application rates based on your crop and operational needs.

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