Digging into biologicals to boost crop production
Research continues to determine how sugarbeets and other crops can benefit from effective use of biostimulants.
By Cynthia Clanton
The search never ends for technologies to help crops meet their genetic potential. Overcoming wild weather swings and other hurdles calls for deep knowledge of crop needs, plus a proactive defense strategy.
Biostimulants are gaining attention as a new option for sparking plant response, but measuring their return on investment needs more scrutiny, says Brian Kuehl, who heads crop protection research and development for CHS.
“The active ingredients in biostimulant products are generally targeted to enhance nutrient efficiency, improve plant stress tolerance and/or enhance plant growth,” he explains. “At CHS, we have been evaluating biologicals for more than 10 years. We have found that not every product works well in every situation. Results are highly dependent on environmental conditions, including weather, soil type, day length and more.”
The promise to support soil health in addition to boosting yield and other performance factors makes biostimulants an area of interest, Kuehl says. Potential benefits could be applied to corn and soybeans, as well as to high-value crops like potatoes and sugarbeets.
“We continue building CHS research programs to more fully understand the conditions in which specific biostimulants perform best. Combining that knowledge with local expertise from cooperative agronomists will help growers make the best decisions for their cropping programs.”
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