Over the years we’ve observed that soils with low fertility and low biological life can respond with dramatic yield gains when infused with beneficial bacteria and fungi. Here’s an experiment by research agronomist Jim Porterfield which offers more evidence of the power of fresh, inoculated soil life.
October 15, 2021 Below we’re publishing a research summary which Porterfield e-mailed us this morning, showing a 25% corn yield gain with in-furrow BioEnsure and BioTango from Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies.
BioEnsure and BioTangoare “endophytes” — microbes which live within roots and enable plants to endure stress, such as drought and excess moisture. However, we’ve observed in our own experiments that corn treated with these organisms also generate much larger roots with extensive mycorrhizal fungi. The symbiotic relationships between soil, bacteria and fungi are so complex that we still have much to learn.
Key facts in this experiment: Low-quality acidic soil; a cation exchange capacity of 6.07. Planting June 5. Adequate rainfall except for a two-week dry spell in mid-August. You can check out the other aspects of this soil, and yield responses, in the table below plus the accompanying notes which Jim Porterfield provided us.
It looks like much of the yield benefit for biologicals came with higher weights per ear, indicating improved season-long nutrition available from healthier roots and rhizosphere (fungal extensions of the roots which extract nutrients). See the photo at bottom of the page: Three untreated stalks and roots, compared with three from treated plots. Root mass of treated plots is much larger.
By Jim Porterfield
Attached is the summary of the results from my experiments with BT/BE for 2021
They are amazingly consistent from two areas of the same field, each area with 8 reps of each treatment with BT/BE and 8 reps of the controls without BT/BE (32 total plots, each a single 30-foot row/plot).
Total nitrogen treatments varied, but 7 of the 8 reps in each area all started with 55 LbN/ac of urea PPI. The 8th rep in each area started with no N (I ran out of Urea before I got to it). It looked pretty pale and much shorter before I hit it with 150 LbN/ac sidedressed urea with Hydra-Hume on July 3rd and then six days later got 2.2 inches rain over four days to put the Urea to work.
With a CEC of 6.07, I stayed within the rule of thumb right before planting of not applying more than 10 Lbs N/ac/CEC at any one time. I believe that lesser load of N does not poison the soil microbes nearly as much as loading it with a full rate of say 180 to 240 Lbs/ac of nitrogen all up front, plus the fact that it has not had any herbicide, insecticide or fungicide for a number of years, plus pretty decent and timely rains really are the three things that allowed the BT/BE to perform like it did for a June 5th planting date.
Had it been a dry summer, well, the results would probably not have been nearly as dramatic on this high clay, no tile drainage timber soil.
Thanks again for providing the BT/BE product.
Jim Porterfield, CCA
Watershed/Water Quality Specialist
Ideal Soil Consultant
4000 E Snake Trail Rd
Martinsville, IL 62442
55 LbN/ac Urea PPI on sections 2-8 of both Areas 1 and 2 on June 4th. Ran out of Urea on June 4th on section 1 of Areas 1 and 2.
Planted June 5th with King Fisher organic corn seed 98 RM.
No herbicides, fungicides or insecticides used. Weeds controlled with 26” BCS rototiller and walk-behind string trimmer.
June 16th foliar sprayed both areas with 3 Lb/ac fructose and WakeUp Summer at 1:256 plus Jack’s Micronutrients 20-20-20, enough for 1 gal. but diluted in 4 gallons of structured water.
July 3rd spread 150 LbN/ac Urea with Hydra-Hume on Section 1. Broadcast Urea at 80 Lb N/ac on Area 1 at V6/V7 on July 9. Broadcast Urea at 116 Lb N/ac on Area 2 on July 29.
Harvested Oct 13 and 14, 2021 by hand.
Soil type is Stoy, on the “poor” timber soils of southeast Illinois. Soil is high in Kaolinite clay.
M3 soil test from 2019 (in ppm): pH 6.6, OM 2.4%, CEC 6.07, Sulfur 9, P 24, Ca 936, Mg 66, K 53, Na 12, Ca 77 %, Mg 9.0 %, K 2.22 %, B 0.54, Fe 280, Mn 99, Cu 1.01, Zn 11.73, Mo 0.02.
Sulfur, Boron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, and Molybdenum are all low. Zinc is high compared to P and Cu.
Rainfall excellent except for 14-day dry spell in mid-August.
Experiments conducted by Jim Porterfield, CCA, Martinsville IL, in 2021.