Biologicals For Fertility and Yield

          Farmers have used biologicals for many years in the form of inoculants for nitrogen-fixing crops like alfalfa, peas, lentils, beans, and soybeans. So what is the fuss all about? We now have companies marketing biologicals for disease suppression, yield enhancement, and fertilizer reduction in non-legume crops like wheat and corn. We’ve seen these miracle products marketed by small startup and fly-by-night companies for years but now we are seeing well-known farm input companies like Corteva and Bayer.

          In the summer of 2022, NDSU soil scientist Dave Franzen initiated corn trials, funded by the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, to evaluate two products whose marketing materials claim they reduce the nitrogen required to produce crops. Evaluation plots were done at four locations. No significant yield response was found to the application of either product. The results of this study were not conclusive but do show the need for further independent testing.

          If you would like more information about biologicals plan to attend the Burke County Ag Improvement Association Annual Meeting to be held at the Lignite Community Center on February 24th. NDSU Extension Agronomist Leo Bortolon will be speaking about biologicals, the good, the bad, and the unknown.

          Watch for further information.