Get Your Money’s Worth from Crop Biostimulants/Biofertilizers that Contain Microbes

Join us in learning more about OMRI-listed crop biostimulants/biofertilizers that contain microbes. Get a better return on investment from these products and help others to, also. Register now for three free conference calls teaming university, company, and grower expertise.

The total value of the U.S. biofertilizer market is $120 million dollars and increasing rapidly. No surprise, given evidence indicating that nearly 40 percent of a large number of sustainable-organic vegetable growers used one or more Microbe-Containing Biostimulants and Biofertilizers (MCBSFs) nearly every season from 2009 to 2014, with some using at least one product each season.

Still, there is trouble for growers, people who advise them, and manufacturers. For example, choosing a product can be difficult. A recent count showed nearly 200 on the market. Worse, labels for many of them contain little information justifying why they should be chosen, explaining how they should be used, or describing their contents. Also, knowing which products work best on certain crops and under which conditions is a mystery to many. For these and other reasons, choosing an inoculant, deciding how to use it, and verifying that it has provided a reasonable return on investment can be an exercise in roulette, an inefficient approach to getting the most from these potentially important inputs.

Learning from others, sharing your questions and experiences, and experimenting carefully is better. With help from USDA and SARE, a team based at The Ohio State University and University of Tennessee is bringing people together to share what they know and want to know about OMRI-listed crop biostimulants/biofertilizers that contain microbes. People will develop and exchange information and share tips and concerns so that everyone interested in this appealing but confusing line of products can benefit more from them. As a first step, the team has organized the three free conference calls; register soon since space is limited. Also, consider joining the MCBSF listserv, reviewing the MCBSF product database, and checking links to ongoing and upcoming MCBSF research.

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This article was submitted by Matt Kleinhenz.

Dr. Matt Kleinhenz is an Extension Specialist (Vegetables) with The Ohio State University, based at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio. He can be reached at (330) 263-3810 and kleinhenz.1@osu.edu.

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