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Global

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Date

August 2015

Plant Health

INOCULATED FOR PLANT HEALTH

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Growers know nature. That’s their business. Which is why Bayer is always looking to use the power of nature to offer its customers innovative solutions to some of the challenges they face.
One option increasing in importance in recent years is the use of inoculants–beneficial microorganisms that can greatly improve the health and yields of some very important legume crops. By producing nodules on a plant’s roots, these species of bacteria can greatly increase the uptake of nitrogen. Soybeans, for example, thrive when these nitrogen-fixing bacteria are present in the soil.

Perfect symbiosis

“It’s a perfectly symbiotic relationship – the microbes get protection, moisture, and everything they need to live, while in return the plant gets nitrogen that the microbes are able to bind from the air,” explains Casper van Rooijen, who works for Bayer SeedGrowth in Monheim, Germany. Bayer is focusing its efforts in the area of soybean inoculants on Brazil and Argentina. Together, these two countries account for some 45 % of the global soybean production area. “Even in fields where we have cultivated soybeans for many years the practice of inoculation is indispensable,” says Felipe Seibt, who farms 2,000 ha of soybeans in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state. "The use of inoculants for soybeans is very important due to the large supply of nitrogen that they provide for the plant, which is done at low cost.”

Bayer uses an effective strain of Bradyrhizobium japonicum to get the most out of a farmer’s soybean. It can be applied in both liquid and peat-based products, depending on a customer’s needs and preferences. In a time of rising input costs, they are becoming an essential part of seed-applied solutions.

“The farmer saves on fertilizer and there’s a scientifically proven increase in yields,” says van Rooijen. But since inoculants are living organisms, their effectiveness depends on matching the right bacteria to the right plant, as well as knowing the local soil and climate conditions. On top of that, each country has a different regulatory framework, making Bayer’s global expertise vital. “The strain for Brazil is different than what is needed for Argentina or the US,” says van Rooijen.

“The farmer saves on fertilizer and there’s a scientifically proven increase in yields.”

Casper van Roijen, Bayer SeedGrowth, Germany


 
 
 

Global expertise

Bayer last year acquired Biagro, a South American company with excellent expertise in seed-applied inoculants to beef up its product range. Combined with the expertise in Bayer’s laboratories for biological crop protection products in West Sacramento, USA, the company strives to further enhance the portfolio. Romeo Joseph Ciochetta, a Brazilian grower with 25 years’ experience and 6,000 ha in Campo Novo dos Parecis, recently tested the Biagro inoculant on 60 ha of soybean. “We noticed we had a better nodulation in comparison to the standard treatment,” says Ciochetta. “At the time of harvest, we noticed that the crop was stronger and fuller with more consistent lines and an improvement in productivity, so we are going to use the Biagro inoculant on 100 % of our next planting.”

Mixing chemicals and organisms

Moreover, growers can be assured that chemical and biological seed-applied solutions are compatible. Bayer offers its customers certainty that its fungicides and insecticides are tested for their compatibility with the sensitive living bacterial inoculants. The company also assists with advice on the proper application method and equipment to ensure farmers get the most out of their leguminous crops. Inoculants – one of the many exciting ways in which Bayer is using the power of nature to help growers around the globe.
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