An AHDB review, completed in 2016, found evidence of a significant increase in yield in at least one experiment for nine of the 11 biostimulant product categories assessed. Now they are going to be put to the test. Running over three years, biostimulants will be tested on Monitor Farms for several combinable crops, including wheat, barley and oilseed rape.
The work will promote discussion on the benefits of biostimulants and give growers the confidence to conduct on-farm trials and interpret findings.
Due to the biological nature of these products, consistent benefits have not so far been observed in trials conducted on cereals and data for oilseed rape is lacking.
Philip Dolbear, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager for the South West, said: “Our review demonstrated the potential of biostimulants but also made it clear that environmental conditions can make the difference between success and failure.
“These try-outs test biostimulants in a range of conditions and all follow the same protocol to help establish if such products work in these specific situations.”
The biostimulant market has expanded rapidly in recent years with numerous companies selling a wide range of products.
The four products used in the try-outs all include microbial and non-microbial components. Donated by Alltech Crop Science, they include a liquid product applied to the soil at planting and a foliar-applied liquid product.
Treatments will be applied to 2.5 ha of crop and compared to untreated crop in the same field. Various growth, yield and quality parameters will be measured.
Results will be analysed independently and presented at Monitor Farm meetings. The impact on crop yield, quality and margin will be discussed.
For details of Monitor Farm meetings.