Big Claims, Big Questions, Big Potential in Small Packages: Learn More About Microbe-containing Crop Biostimulants

A large and increasing number of agronomic, forage, and specialty (horticultural) crop producers use or are interested in microbe-containing crop biostimulants advertised to enhance crop growth, perhaps especially under sub-optimal conditions. These inoculants are applied as a seed treatment, soil amendment (e.g., during transplanting and irrigation), or, less often, foliar spray. Inoculating crops with potentially beneficial microbes is a very long-standing practice but much has changed in recent years. The spike in the number and diversity of microbe-containing products, number of acres to which they are applied, and range of cropping systems and settings within those acres are just three noticeable changes. Unfortunately, those changes have not been matched by the availability of resources providing reliable guidance on getting the most from these products. With more products, use, claims, and interest have come more questions from growers and people who advise them. Three upcoming conference calls will help lessen confusion. Please see http://u.osu.edu/vegprolab/research-areas/vegebiostimsferts/ for more information about and a registration form for the calls to be held on March 21, April 18, and May 16, all 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST. Encourage others who may be interested to participate, also. While examples will focus on inoculant use in sustainable-organic vegetable production, principles and approaches will apply to other crops and systems.

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About the C.O.R.N. Newsletter

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.