Renewable Farming

At end of six days, biologically treated seed outraces untreated control

This is a first of many observations we’ll make of emergence and rooting tests with corn and soybeans, checking the potential usefulness of “test tube” germination and root growth. Purpose: Screen combinations of in-furrow biologicals, biostimulants, nutrients and WakeUP Spring.

April 3, 2018 — You can see the array of initial soil-filled “terrarium” tubes in our initial report March 28. Those original photos were taken March 28, minutes after planting seed corn into moist soil and applying varied solutions to simulate in-furrow blends.

Last night, April 2, the earliest spikes were just emerging. This afternoon, six full 24-hour periods after planting, we shot these photos, showing that the earliest spikes are as tall as two inches. Soil temperature was about 70 degrees, which made it easier to trigger germination.

Looking across the sample of clear 2-in. plastic tubes in the photo below, and others among the 36 tubes where we’re testing products, the most consistent difference between treatments is: Most of the seeds treated with some kind of mycorrhiza or biostimulant, plus WakeUP Spring, shows the greatest leaf area and root depth.

The control seeds had significant root depth, but only one of the seeds had emerged. Treated seeds had several large, deep roots and fine branching already.

Six days after planting, biologically treated roots outpace controls


The first 1 to 3 weeks after planting are “foundational” for season-long root growth. Encouraging a big, early bloom of mycorrhiza growing around and within roots amplifies the root’s ability to dissolve soil nutrients and punch deeper for good moisture. That advantage lasts all season.

Please refer to our initial report of March 28 for a description of the testing setup. 

Our recommendation isn’t to prove the “best bugs,” but to encourage you to conduct such screening with your own soils, biological products and favored NPK or trace packages. Every soil has different microbial populations and will respond in its own way to introduced organisms. However, previous yield tests repeatedly show that in-furrow microbial and biostimulant treatments typically generate more vigorous, early roots. Once the inoculated mycorrhiza get started, they persist through the season.

Another good dry seed treatment is AgriEnergy Resources’ Myco Seed Treat, which we have in stock here at Renewable Farming. 

Today, we received a photo from Doug Miller of Midwest Bio-Tech of Erie, Illinois, whose earlier experiments with roots grown in such tubes sparked our own tests. The photo below shows soybean roots, which are smaller than corn but still visible through the clear walls of the tube. 

Doug describes the comparison: “Two tubes on the left have Chandler Dry Seed Treat on non-GMO soybean seeds, and the two tubes on the right are untreated non-GMO soybean seeds.  The seeds took 5 days to emerge.  The root systems shown in the tubes represent about one week of growth after emergence.”

After the 12-day experiment, Doug capped the tubes and carried them to a farm show to demonstrate the effect of Chandler Dry Seed Treat. It’s not a microbial, so it could be a candidate for an inexpensive planter-box seed treatment ahead of an in-furrow application of biologicals. The Midwest Bio-Tech site says it “contains micronutrients and naturally occurring enzymes, proteins, and amino acids that enhance the germination process and provide an early source of nutrients for the plant.”


Root growth showing effect of Chandler Dry Seed Treat on soybeans, 12 days after planting