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Microbials Enhance Soil Environment, Crop Performance

Microscopic tools are Nature’s helpers.

Use inoculants to maximize corn yields.Living within the soil, in close relation to plants, are naturally occurring microorganisms with distinct properties that can help control fungi, bacteria, nematodes, insects and weeds. Though they are so tiny millions fit into the eye of a needle, these microbes also can stimulate plant growth and yield by improving access to nutrients.

Unfortunately, populations of these natural helpers within the soil often decrease due to environmental conditions such as drought, excess moisture, leaching, heat or cold and lack of nutrients needed to sustain the organisms. By adding microbes to the soil, producers can create a soil environment more ideal for crop growth.

Today, there are a number of products delivering beneficial microbes that growers can apply to all types of crops to complement traditional methods of plant production and protection. These products can offer real benefits such as improving crop nutrient uptake, promoting growth and yield, or providing insect control and disease protection.

Necessity for optimum production from legume crops

Inoculants such as Graph-Ex SA™ are one type of microbial product offering different strains specifically targeted for each legume, such as alfalfa, soybeans, clover, peas and dry beans. The beneficial rhizobia bacteria provided by Graph-Ex SA are improved strains over those used for the past 40 years. These bacteria are necessary for root nodulation so legumes can fix nitrogen from the air used for plant growth and productivity. Inoculants may be applied directly to the soil or as a seed treatment. Inoculants are particularly important if a legume crop hasn’t been grown in a field recently. They are low-cost insurance to make sure enough bacteria are in the soil to allow root nodulation.

When legumes exhibit a pale yellow-green leaf color or have small root systems with minimal nodulation, lack of soil bacteria is typically the cause.

Microbials boost stand establishment, nutrient utilization in corn, wheat

Products such as SabrEx™ for corn have been shown to create more robust root systems, induce resistance to plant stresses like dry weather or disease, and increase water and nutrient efficiency. Yield data from the last five years and 205 locations has averaged an 8.2 bu/a yield benefit compared to untreated acres.

When used in wheat and other cereals, the organisms in microbials such as SabrEx colonize with the plants’ root systems and develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the plant, feeding off starches and sugars the plant produces. Enzymes exuded from the microbes are then used by the plant for healthy growth during periods of disease and drought. Microbials also increase root mass and fine root hairs in addition to increasing tillering which ultimately leads to increased yields.

Products and application methods to fit your operation

Microbial products are offered in several forms. Visit with your Southern States® agronomist for more information on the products and application methods that will best fit your operation. Depending on the product, you may be able to choose from these options:

  • Planter box treatment that can be added just before planting at the planter box.
  • Seed treatment, applied by commercial seed treaters and seed companies.
  • Liquid, applied to the seed or applied directly to soil in solution with other crop protection or nutrition products.

For more information on microbial products to help enhance yield and productivity of your crops, please visit with your local Southern States agronomist.

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