How rising fertilizer prices shows a greater need for biologicals
Farmers are no strangers to unpredictable market conditions – day in and day out, they deal with a myriad of challenges both on and off the farm. And just as we are closing the chapter on a particularly challenging year that saw widespread drought across North America, another storm is brewing, and the result is some of the highest fertilizer prices in the last two decades. The problem couldn’t come at a worse time with the added concern of global supply chain disruptions across all sectors that leave farm managers not only concerned about how much fertilizer they can afford but whether they can get access to what they need.
Although commodity prices still remain high, rising fertilizer prices and low supply may lead farmers to cut their application rates or switch to crops that require less fertilizer, jeopardizing their potential yields and profitability. The good news is that there is another way – biologicals like nitrogen-fixing bacteria can supplement or reduce the need for applied N fertilizer without reducing yields, a solution that can help farmers with their productivity AND sustainability goals.
Biologicals offer a proven solution
The biologicals segment and specifically biofertility, has experienced significant growth over the last decade. New innovations, supported by small plot farmer-led research and a growing demand for products that provide a balance of productivity and sustainability, means that there are more options available today than ever before. Biologicals hold the potential to revolutionize the way we farm — making productivity and sustainability practices work hand in hand rather than at odds with each other — and they are starting to become a standard on-farm solution.
For farmers, soil applied nitrogen has been the best option for generations, but it’s hardly the most efficient. In a good year, only half to three quarters of synthetic Nitrogen fertilizer gets utilized by crops. Leaching, volatilization, and denitrification decrease nitrogen availability and that is even before the challenges of the crops accessing, translocating and metabolizing that nitrogen. Crops under stress from environmental factors like drought or floods are simply less efficient at taking up N from the soil and translocating it to where it is needed most during critical growth stages in their development. Now there is an entirely new way to look at N efficiency – one that doesn’t start in the soil but in the plant cells, where the plant needs it most for growth.
Envita can provide in-plant N fixation all season long
Nitrogen drives yield potential, but N is only as good as its plant availability. The season-long N-fixation capability of the leading biofertilizer, Envita, has been proven to reduce the need for applied N fertilizer in corn by an average of 27% without impacting yield. And when applied in addition to a recommended N fertility program, trials have demonstrated between 5-13% and up to 20% yield increases in corn. Envita turns your entire plant — foliage and roots — into an N-fixing machine from the inside-out.
Most N-fixing bacteria is limited to the soil or forms nodules on the roots, and then stays there. Biologicals that work in the soil have a tougher time delivering consistent results – beyond the billions of microbes in the soil that they have to compete with there are the variables of soil moisture, texture, pH, CEC, and organic matter, to name a few. In contrast, Envita in-furrow or foliar applications move quickly into the plant and grow throughout the foliage and roots and the plant as it grows. It then actively fixes N from the air, constantly providing N to the plant throughout its entire growth cycle, where and when the plant needs it most.
Simply put, soil available N doesn’t make it accessible N and there is no better way for a plant to access N than from within its own cells where and when it is needed the most. Accessible N equals higher yields and Envita fills the nitrogen gap.
A look ahead
Today, nitrogen fertilizer could cost you twice as much as it did a year ago, and that’s if you can get it. There has never been a better time to introduce biofertility products like Envita into your fertility program.
Farmers will continue to face challenges in the future – from input costs, economic uncertainty to extreme weather and stricter environmental regulations. They need real solutions that are affordable, accessible and help manage their risks. As farmers continue to add biologicals as part of their fertility program, they will experience the benefits of productivity AND sustainability. The best way to take control of your fertility program is to have your crops make their own.