Renewable Farming

Heading for 30-bu. double-crop soybeans after wheat — in Canada!

The photo of soybeans below was shot Aug. 15, 2016 near Brooksdale, Ontario, which is on the same latitude as southern Minnesota. These beans were drilled into wheat stubble 30 days earlier, and they’re already 22 inches high.

A primary reason they gained such a fast emergence and early growth is a seed treatment with Lignition — a biostimulant which enhances natural crop metabolism including germination and chlorophyll efficiency.

We’re into our third season of on-farm testing of Ligniton.  It’s the most exciting yield enhancer we’ve seen in more than 30 years of studying biological yield-boosting technology. The North American research leader and developer of this growth enhancer, Dave Sutherland of Ontario, has allowed Renewable Farming to conduct dozens of field trials with Ligntion since 2014. As we had hoped, Lignition’s yield-boosting capability is further enhanced with WakeUP. We’ve reported on several Lignition trials with foliar and in-furrow applications.

The beans pictured below were treated with Lignition on the seed, at planting time. And five days before this photo, they received a foliar spray of 40 grams of dry Lignition per acre included in a herbicide application. (That’s 1.4 dry ounces of Lignition per acre.)

The beans emerged fast and uniformly, with abundant early vigor.

Dave says the cooperating grower may add another foliar treatment of Lignition later. “Looking good so far… we have to beat 30 bu. per acre,” he adds. 

Lignition is one of the easiest, simplest yield boosters we’ve tested in companionship with WakeUP. It’s a soluble powder, like instant coffee. As a biostimulant, it can be used at any stage — seed treatment, in-furrow with fertilizers, with foliar nutrients or crop protection products.

The growth-enhancing capabilities of lignin-derived compounds, such as humates, have been researched and proven many years. Dozens of humic products are on the ag market worldwide. Most of them are fairly un-refined black humate suspensions with varying amounts of humic and fulvic acids which contain the effective enzymes.

Until now, nobody has extracted the “essence” of those growth promoters. “This is where the patents are,” says Sutherland, and for a decade he has researched and developed the refining process.

One of Ligniton’s effects, as we’re gradually understanding it, is to improve photosynthetic efficiency. Surprisingly, typical crops like corn or soybeans convert only about 2% of the total sunlight energy falling on the leaf into glucose which is further converted into other sugars, cellulose, lignin and other crop components.  There are exceptions, which offer the hope of significant breakthroughs in yield potential: Sugar cane for example, has a 7% to 8% efficiency of converting solar energy to biomass. If corn and soybeans could be “encouraged,” by changes in gene expression, to operate its chloroplast sugar factories more efficiently, this could open up an avenue of yield gain which offers substantial leverage.  This is why Dave Sutherland, studying quietly below the research radar for a decade, is compiling many, many yield trials in Canada, and now in the United States. We’re privileged to work with such a cautious, solid, research-oriented developer.

30-day-old double cropped soybeans in Ontario, Canada are already approaching 24 inches high!