Researchers clarify how to use biostimulants in crops

Researchers are educating growers on how biostimulants can improve crop quality and consistency across fields when they’re used right.

The University of Illinois’ Connor Sible tells Brownfield their research categorizes biostimulants for different uses.

“The basic levels can be split into kind of two larger bins,” he said. “And that’s the living microorganisms or what we can classify as the formerly living.”

He said the ‘living’ category includes microorganisms like nitrogen fixing bacteria which are used to provide nitrogen to soybeans and are starting to be used in corn and wheat. Sible says the ‘formerly living’ category includes tools like kelp extracts which provide ammino acids and proteins to stave off drought pressure.

Researcher Fred Below said some farmers doubt the effectiveness of biostimulants because of misuse and warns there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

“They need to know what they do [and] how they do it,” Below said. “Now, we are firm believers in ultimately the synergy that may come from using two of them that then work together.”

Sible and Below said the next step is tapping into that synergetic potential of biostimulants.  

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