Renewable Farming

4-bushel gain in soybean yield for $5.50 per acre LigniSeed treatment

We’ve been involved with several seasons of field-testing variations of the Lignition biostimulant which is being refined by Dave Sutherland of Ontario, Canada. His latest version for seed treatment, labeled “LigniSeed,” shows the most consistent yield response of any seed treatment we’ve seen. Dave, a veteran of more than 30 years in Canadian agronomic products, thoroughly field-tests what he offers growers. Like us, he’s a “show me the data” guy.

March 24, 2018 — The chart below originates from random-rep field tests which Dave hired at the professional testing firm Real Farm Research near Aurora, Nebraska in 2017. We’ve had this firm test WakeUP Summer as a foliar in the past, and their team did a thorough job. 

Real Farm Research trialed six variations of LigniSeed (chart below) and found that they averaged a 4-bu. yield gain. The most effective formulation of LigniSeed in this set of experiments was designated Exp50 in the field trial. It produced an 8.1-bu. yield gain in soybeans.

In our nearly 10 years of field tests on thousands of plots at Renewable Farming LLC, we’ve almost never seen an 8-bu. yield response on soybeans for any seed, in-furrow or foliar product. It’s tough to influence soybeans with a single yield booster. Especially when you’re pushing yields into the high 60s and low 70s.

To us, it looks like the decade or more of field research by Dave Sutherland is homing in on a consistently effective seed-treatment flavor of LigniSeed. Researchers have found that lignin-derived growth stimulants are a combination of hormones, enzymes, catalysts and other compounds. But so far, the exact metabolic pathways are still unknown. 

Several of our innovative clients have bought LigniSeed from us for their own field trials this season. We custom-prepare the product to suit each farmer. Some growers prefer a liquid package, others want it dry so they can blend it with other seed-applied products such as mycorrhiza mixes.  LigniSeed is a “natural” to accompany live microbial seed treatments, like AgriEnergy’s Myco Seed Treat (MST), a long-proven blend of beneficial organisms which colonize the emerging roots. 

Surprising evidence of LigniSeed’s biostimulus activity in microbes came a few days ago from a grower who builds his own in-furrow biological treatment. He multiplies microbes in a fermenting vat with nutrients. He checks the microbe populations regularly as the brew ferments. Surprisingly, adding LigniSeed to his proprietary blend of live organisms apparently accelerates growth and reproduction of the beneficial mycorrhiza and other critters in the tank. To us, this microbial “bloom” is a clue that LigniSeed’s mode of action probably triggers a biostimulus of beneficial microbes. We’ve always presumed that the main mode of action of the two principal variants of Lignition, now called LigniSeed (for seed treatment) and LigniLeaf (for foliar application) is for a biostimulant to amplify photosynthetic activity.

A few years ago, we experimented with Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylotroph (PPFM), enhanced by a U.S. researcher, as a means of generating growth factors for crops as the PPMF organisms colonize the leaf. In other countries such as India, this is becoming a recommended practice.

Dave Sutherland’s field trials virtually always follow through with analysis of crop quality. Often, a yield increase becomes a tradeoff: More weight, but not necessarily more nutritional value or quality.  In the Nebraska field tests, beans from all plots were analyzed for protein content, and the results converted to total protein produced per acre. The average gain in crude protein per acre was almost 100 pounds. American soybean meal averages about 46.7% crude protein, and U.S. soybean growers base much of their overseas marketing effort on the quality of American soybeans.



The cost for seed-treating soybeans, or other field crops such as corn, or small grains, is a standard $5.50 per acre. We supply the correct amount of LigniSeed to treat each type of seed you plant.  Seed can be treated weeks or even months before planting, as this product is not an “organism” but rather a complex of growth factors derived from the fulvic, humic and other compounds built naturally into raw lignin.   Unlike most “lignohumate” products derived from ancient plant deposits, Lignition variations are all processed from raw, non-GMO crops with high lignin content, such as fresh wheat straw. 

There’s a lot more detail on the Lignition website.   Call us for details, or e-mail.