Renewable Farming

15 bu. more corn from a biological inoculant piggybacked with postmerge herbicide

Biodyne USA’s “Environoc 401” microbe mix for in-furrow application has shown positive yield responses on corn the past two seasons here in the upper Midwest. Now, Biodyne USA offers “BioCast” so farmers without in-furrow gear can capture biological benefits too. 

November 19, 2018 — The pace of innovation accelerated again this season as farmers tested new microbial mixes — and sent yield-monitor results direct from the field via their cell phones and computers. The photo below offers early evidence that even if you don’t have one of our favorite tools — in-furrow application pumps on your planter — you can gain yields by spraying a microbial blend tank-mixed with your postmerge herbicide.

Many farmers with the largest central-hopper planters find it difficult to add an in-furrow system, which also requires refilling in the field. So, an inoculant like Biodyne USA’s BioCast looks worth checking into for your 2019 season.

The image below comes from 2018 yield monitor data out of South Central Iowa. It’s an average of only two replications, but the color of the check strips and 15-bu. yield difference bear watching. The observation was made Nov. 6. Biodyne reps were sharing it among themselves shortly thereafter. Biodyne USA president Gil Farley e-mailed PowerPoint images of that yield map and related Haney Soil Test data Nov. 15. We reviewed it over the weekend — and now it’s online for the innovators to ponder.

The BD-BioCast blend shows promise of joining a widening array of soil-applied organisms which are mixed with organic acids, mobilizers and traces to enhance early root growth. The “granddaddy” of these is AgriEnergy Resources SP-1, which we’ve tested in several application modes. In the 2017 season, one of America’s most experienced vegetable scientists, Dr. Michael Orzolek, showed that “positive yield benefits included an 8-bu. yield gain on corn and a 50% increase in marketable yield of tomatoes.” This link takes you to our March 26, 2018 report on Dr. Orzalek’s work.

Evidence that you can gain a yield response with an effective microbe mix applied on the surface early in the season opens up the convenience of piggybacking more biologicals with nutrients and herbicides. Biodyne’s marketing copy on its product page reasons out the advantages of making soils a bit more healthy:

Introducing BD-Biocast (1-0-0) from Biodyne, a specifically designed biostimulant technology containing Biodyne’s proprietary best-in-class Environoc 401 beneficial microbial consortium along with organic acid complexes, and soil-penetrating technologies to benefit producers who do not have in-furrow delivery capability. BD-Biocast is delivered via a variety of soil applied application methods.

The beneficial microbial population provides a very diverse and sustained range of benefits to any crop. Some of the microbial capabilities include:

Nitrogen fixation, Phosphate solubilization, Hormone production, Vitamin production, Siderophore production, and more…

The idea is to build a healthy population of “good guy” microbes to enhance overall soil / plant health and create a more sustainable environment.

BD-Biocast also contains a complex organic acid profile that provides a superior carbon source that can feed microbial populations and also provide micronutrient chelation abilities to the soil.

The soil penetrating technology provides a sustaining environment for beneficial microbes and biostimulants to proliferate in the soil and become more accessible in the root zone.

Biodyne USA also reported on a series of five monthly Haney Soil Tests (May through September) comparing:

1. BD BioCast treated crop areas of the field

2. Untreated crop areas of the field

3. Soil in an undisturbed fencerow — where soil structure and biological activity is typically healthiest.

You can download a PDF of the Haney Soil Sampling Data from this link. The Haney charts are on pages 2 and 3 of the PDF report. 

An immediate surprise: In the Biodyne soils, carbon dioxide respiration was substantially higher than untreated soil in May.  As you’d expect, fencerow soil CO2 respiration rates were higher than crop areas through the season. 

BD BioCast treated soil had sharply higher water-extractable nitrogen availability in May and June, and these parts of the field held onto a nitrogen availability edge through the season. Possibly, the presence of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the product relate to this advantage.

Fencerow soils had a large edge on either of the field soils in phosphorus and potassium through the season, as you might expect. However, the September samples showed that BD BioCast soils powered ahead for a strong gain over non-treated soil that month, which could have provided part of the yield gain showing up on the monitor.

We suggest you review those Haney charts, and think about season-long Haney soil health tests on your own croplands. Nutrient availability changes with the season, and we have a lot to learn about soil biology’s role in those changes.