Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Crop Doctors Prescribe Biologicals For Healthy Soil

Soybean plant

Doctors prescribe a daily probiotic to keep a body healthy and working well, which is especially crucial during cold and flu season. One main job of a probiotic is to fight off bad bacteria and keep a healthy balance of bacteria in the body.

Crop doctors (aka agronomists) look for that same balance for a healthy soybean plant.

Their prescription? The equivalent to a probiotic – a biological seed treatment.

“Biological seed treatments provide one of the best kickstarts your crops can have,” said Pamela Calvo-Velez, BASF Global/U.S. Fungicide and Biological Lead — Seed Treatment Research & Development.

“Biologicals give growers a different type of seed-applied tool with a different mode of action to complement your seed treatments and crop protection efforts. But there’s also so much more a biological can do to help increase a crop’s potential.”

Think of biologicals as a probiotic to benefit the immune health of your plant and the soil. Probiotics are part of a larger picture concerning bacteria and the body — the microbiome. A microbiome is a community of organisms that work together to keep a body healthy. The same can be said of biologicals.

Biologicals produce metabolites and other components that can interact with the microbes in the soil to produce a happy, healthy soil microbiome, which in turn allows:

  • The growth of bigger root systems
  • Better nutrient intake
  • Increased root mass leading to better water absorption
  • Improved overall performance in stress conditions

Look For Quality And Consistency

Similarly, the results from both a probiotic and a biological can be difficult to see, but doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

“At BASF, we have spent a lot of time working with biologicals to unlock their potential and create products based on them. Through that process, we have learned one thing: consistency is key for performance,” said Calvo-Velez.

Calvo-Velez recommends biologicals be field tested for at least two years in different locations to see consistency across the board. That testing helps ensure the number of microbes in the product are holding steadily — and when customers apply the biological to seeds and then experience a delay in planting, they know the biological will still be there.

“It’s all part of the quality control process.”

Calvo-Velez makes a strong case for growers considering biologicals. One argument no side will rebuke is that giving crops the best head start only helps to improve fields in the long run.

If you’d like to learn more about the science behind biological seed treatments and how they are made, you can watch this video.

BASF provided this article.

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