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2.5 t/ha yield increases recorded with applications of bio-stimulants in independent trials

Rocketing fertiliser costs are placing more pressure on growers to make every adjustment to help boost performance without adding further pressure on costs and margins. Performance benefits recorded in recent independent trials, including a remarkable 2.5t/ha yield increase in winter wheat, reveal the potential to significantly reduce input costs and improve profits by including applications of complementary bio-stimulants.

The huge returns on investment and significant yield results have been recorded in independent trials on biological seed treatments and bio-stimulants. In the key autumn foliar treatment period for cereal crops, including bio-stimulant applications within tank mixes can help achieve performance results such as those demonstrated in the trials.

NIAB winter wheat trials undertaken at Coates, Gloucestershire, forming part of UK bio-technology company AminoA’s bio-stimulant registration dossier, have revealed further evidence of both the performance and costs benefits of the interaction of the natural bio-stimulant and nutrient source AminoA FLO, with fungicides.

The untreated plot on the trials of winter wheat (var. Crusoe) showed a yield of 11.31t/ha, while two separate fungicide programmes saw an increase yield of 12.42t/ha and 13.00t/ha, at an input cost of £48.50 and £80 per ha respectively.

“The third fungicide programme, at a cost of just £28 per ha, plus 3 x 2 litres of AminoA FLO resulted in a massive yield of 15.50t/ha. The trials were on the same site as RL trials in Cirencester where treated Crusoe yielded 9.54t/ha and the untreated 8.12t/ha,” explains AminoA managing director Richard Phillips.

“To put this result into perspective the best RL treated yield for Crusoe this year was in Broughton, Hampshire at 13.52t/ha, also producing the highest untreated yield of 10.93t/ha. This adds further evidence to the return on investment and performance benefits of including AminoA FLO, or AminoA GRO, suitable for use in organic systems, within your tank mix during autumn applications,” he adds.

Dr Syed Shah, regional agronomist with NIAB comments, “Our trials have shown AminoA products to work very well, and by choosing crop varieties carefully, can show a good level of resistance to disease.

“Depending on the conditions, I would say AminoA products can reduce the speed of disease development, although eventually you will need to use fungicides,” he adds.

“You have to look at costs, and based on growth analysis margins, I would say it compares well and suggest it can help reduce fungicide use. I am not saying it can be used in every circumstance, but bio-stimulants certainly have their place,” says Dr Shah.

Bio-stimulants are now becoming mainstream inputs and are being regulated worldwide.

“Properly formulated bio-stimulants can reduce grower costs and improve profits, as well as reducing the environmental impact of agrochemicals,” says Mr Phillips.

“Bio-stimulants are not fungicides, but they do enable the plants’ own defences to resist low levels of disease and are a stepping-stone to allow the reduction of fungicide rates. Indeed, fungicides used under low disease pressure situations can in fact be toxic to the plant and reduce yields,” he adds.

Spring barley trials

These NIAB trial results follow on from Scottish Agronomy trials on the biological seed treatment AminoA STAART on spring barley. Treated Laureate spring barley trials saw treated replicated plots average 10.02t/ha from a seed treatment alone.

“Individual plots yielded over 10.45t/ha which was the world spring barley record yield in 2014! Recent trials have also shown the STAART seed treatment programme costs £8/ha for a return of approximately £100,” adds Mr Phillips.

Spring Beans

After the removal of approval for fungicidal seed treatments in June this year, AminoA STAART is the only available seed treatment in the UK for beans.

Results from PGRO trials in Stubton with spring field beans (Vicia faba) variety Lynx, at a dose rate of 5 litres/tonne, show a combination of AminoA STAART and AminoA FLO, demonstrated a significant impact on yield over the untreated control.

“Mean yield was 4.80t/ha at 15% moisture on the trial using AminoA STAART and FLO in combination, against the untreated yield of 3.90t/ha. When Sigma fungicide was used at T3 yields further increased to 5.3t/ha” says Mr Phillips.

“The combination also displayed significantly lower chocolate spot infection compared to the untreated control, demonstrating a suppressive effect on foliar disease,” he adds.

The treated trial also stimulated significant increase in thickness of the stem walls, which helped the treated plants resist stress, by enabling better flow through the xylem and nutrient translocation through the phloem.

“In the coming years, we need a much more considered approach and to use inputs appropriate to the needs of the crop,” says Mr Phillips. “Bio-stimulants will have a significant role to play in this approach.”