Tying the Soil and Plant Together

Biostimulants offer no-tillers an affordable option to improve soil biological activity and boost yields without depleting soils.

Pictured Above: MANY OPTIONS. Covering the crop life cycle from seed germination to plant maturity, diverse formulations of biostimulants are helping no-tillers improve soil and plant health and increase crop yields, as well as tolerate abiotic stresses. The group of products include humic and fulvic acids, plant hormones, mycorrhizal fungi and more, and can often be applied a variety of ways

As the world’s population grows and uncertainty hangs over the viability of some herbicides and herbicide-tolerant cropping systems, it appears no-tillers aren’t hesitating to check out what ag biological products have to offer.

According to No-Till Farmer’s 9th annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study: 

  • 12.7% of no-tillers applied a biological seed treatment in 2016 to corn and 16.7% for soybeans. 
  • 37.2% of no-tillers said they planned to apply a product in 2017 touted to improve soil biological activity, up slightly from previous years. 

No-Till Farmer is debuting a four-article series about the possibilities ag biologicals hold. These features will describe the different types of products on the market, how they work and under what circumstances they perform best.

In this edition, we’ll look at biostimulant products, a diverse formulation of compounds, substances and micro-organisms that are applied to plants or soils to improve crop vigor, yields, quality and tolerance of abiotic stresses. 

Biostimulants typically foster plant growth and development throughout the crop life cycle from seed germination to plant maturity. They include humic and fulvic acids, amino acids, mycorrhizal fungi and more. 

In subsequent articles, we’ll explore biological pesticides, biofertilizers…

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John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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