It’s likely that forage growers across the U.S. will once again be dealing with drought and a lack of moisture throughout much of the growing season. In addition, the cost of fertilizer and fuel may leave many wondering if the investment of maintaining stands or planting a fresh crop is worth the investment.
If this is you or a grower you advise, the answer may be bio-logical.
Alfalfa is a deep-rooted plant that can find water at greater depths than other forages and can go dormant to wait out droughts when stresses are kept to a minimum. Biologicals offer advantages when it comes to managing environmental challenges by enhancing nutrient uptake and promoting the development of vigorous roots.
Many forage producers already plant alfalfa and sweet clover seed treated with a nitrogen fixation inoculant like Nitragin® Gold. It’s the foundation of the Novozymes® BioAg portfolio and considered the gold standard within the industry because it promotes plant health from the start. You wouldn’t build a million-dollar house on a sand foundation, and you really can’t grow a healthy, resilient crop without strong roots.
Those who want to take extra steps toward securing an even stronger forage foundation can try adding biologicals with LCO (lipo-chitooligosaccharides) technology to input plans. LCO biologicals like Optimize® Gold and Ratchet® contain strains of bacteria that naturally enhance plant nutrition. Here’s how they work:
- Optimize Gold is an inoculant containing LCO and Sinorhizobium meliloti that encourages nodule development for improved nitrogen fixation and utilization of potassium and phosphates that get locked in the soil. Optimize Gold delivers best results when used in conjunction with Nitragin Gold.
- Ratchet is new, foliar-applied LCO promoter technology coming on the market this summer. It uses a unique signaling molecule to enhance nutritional capabilities and improve photosynthesis. Below ground, it drives root development to increase overall biomass and length to reach water and nutrients. Above ground, it increases sugar production and chlorophyl content for stronger, more resilient plants.
We are extremely excited for Ratchet to come to market because increasing photosynthesis output drives yields and quality. It’s also extremely flexible and compatible with other products, making it easy to tank mix and apply as part of an existing crop protection pass. With almost no extra effort, you’ve given your crops an extra layer of protection for survival.
Ultimately, the decision to plant or not comes down to the unique circumstances of your farm. Biological inoculants and foliars may not make sense for every operation, but for those who know they’ll face water stress and drought, biologicals offer an incredible shot at saving the season.
Learn more about Novozymes BioAg and our bioyield forage solutions.
About Novozymes BioAg
Novozymes® BioAg is a world leader in microbe and enzyme-based biological solutions farmers depend on to make a positive impact on the planet and their bottom line. With more than 130 years of research and development exclusively in the biological space, we strive to improve agricultural performance while preserving the planet’s resources. Our bio-innovation enables higher yields, energy-efficient production, renewable fuels and increased profitability using smart, eco-friendly technologies straight from Mother Nature.
Our dynamic portfolio of non-toxic bioyield, biocontrol and biostimulant solutions enhance soil fertility, protect crops and improve overall plant health.
Microbial inoculants and biostimulants complement traditional fertilizers. They help increase the availability of key nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for improved crop yields and use signaling molecules to help mitigate stress.
We’re also proud to partner with companies like Bayer, Syngenta, FMC and Nexus BioAg to develop and test products for incredibly reliable performance. Novozymes conducts hundreds of real life, on-farm product performance testing trials on hundreds of acres.