Renewable Farming

How BioEnsure and BioTango help your crops endure dry summer stress

The April 27 U.S. Drought Monitor map shows “abnormally dry” conditions creeping eastward from the Southwest and Plains states into Iowa and the Eastern Corn Belt. Here’s an inexpensive array of “endophyte” microbes you can foliar-apply to enhance drought tolerance.

April 30, 2021  Carefully selected beneficial bacteria and fungi which live inside your crop, between the cells, have proven to strengthen the plant’s ability to endure stretches of scarce soil moisture. These two products are tank-mixed with your spray solution for foliar application.

The fungi, Trichoderma harzianum, is labeled BioEnsure. It’s supplied in a liquid solution at a rate of one-tenth of an ounce per acre when foliar-applied. Retail price is $56 per fluid ounce, or $5.60 per acre. 

The diverse blend of bacteria is labeled BioTango. It’s delivered as a dry soluble powder. All you need is one gram per acre when foliar-applied. Retail price is $2.10 per gram, or $2.10 per acre. 

Total product cost per acre: $7.70. Extensive field trials by AST indicate that even if there’s no weather stress, these biologicals bump yields enough to provide a positive net over cost. Please see the performance data on the AST website. Our own trials show that the biologicals enhance root and mycorrhizal proliferation. That greatly enhances nutrient uptake from the soil. The mycorrhiza filaments can extract water from soil which root hairs can’t reach. You can see the evidence of this root proliferation in our Feb. 24, 2021 article at this link.

Our Renewable Farming family has worked with the BioEnsure and BioTango product developers, Rusty Rodriguez and Regina Redman, since the 2020 crop season. The performance data they’ve developed over a decade convinced us to offer these products. Their Spokane, WA company: Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies (AST). We encourage you to browse their website for performance evidence. This spring we’ve been shipping these products for application on seed and in-furrow.

But with dry weather invading Iowa, we’re encouraging growers to consider foliar-applying BioEnsure and BioTango — possibly with a nutrient spray or postmerge herbicide. Our locality, Black Hawk County in northeast Iowa, had less than 0.30 inch of rain in April. In most years, April showers total about three inches here. We scouted surrounding counties yesterday, and planter tracks are in more than half the fields. AST has tested foliar-sprayed BioEnsure and BioTango several years, finding that it’s an effective way to inoculate growing crops with these endophytes.

We asked AST to test our WakeUP Spring in a solution with their live fungi and bacteria. Result: The organisms thrived in the presence of a normal 1:250 solution of WakeUP Spring, indicating it’s safe to include WakeUP with BioEnsure and BioTango when you’re foliar spraying. Our rationale for that: WakeUP enhances complete leaf coverage and rapid absorption of spray solutions into leaf metabolism. Our own greenhouse tests with corn confirmed that last winter. We reported those results on young corn. Here’s a link to our Feb. 17 article

The photo below right shows corn root development with foliar-applied BioEnsure and BioTango, versus no treatment. Note the massive root development in treated stalks.

Phone or e-mail us at Renewable Farming for more details!