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Omission plot tests demonstrate Envita’s positive impact on corn yields

Nitrogen-fixing bacteria protects yield potential, especially in stressed seasons

University of Illinois PhD candidate in crop physiology Connor Sible has shared the results of a compelling trial in corn he has completed, under the supervision of Dr. Below. The results highlighted several key findings: a significant yield bump in Envita-treated crops, that removing Envita from an intensive treatment plan resulted in a yield loss, and in a year of high N loss due to early season precipitation, additional, steady N supplied by Envita was beneficial to crop yields.

Study Design

Let’s first take a closer look at the study design. It’s called an omission trial because it allows multiple variables to be added or omitted for comparison to see what variables have the most impact on results. This omission-addition study compared 11 different crop management factors (e.g. fertilizers, biologics and pesticides, including different application strategies) and a management control. The standard management protocol consisted of none of the individual treatments on a corn crop planted at 32,000 plants per acre with 180 units of N upfront. The intensive management protocol consisted of 44,000 plants per acre with 180 units of N upfront as well as all 11 individual factors. One by one, Sible either added a single factor to the standard management system or removed it from the intensive management system. The goal was to isolate the value of a single factor on yield when added to a basic crop management protocol, or removed from an intensive one.

Sible explains that the study design can be compared to assessing an athlete’s impact on a sports team’s performance: how one player can improve the team as a whole, and how much is lost when that player is benched. 

Results

The results were clear, and positive: Envita created an 11-12 bushel increase when added to the standard system. And on the flip side, the crops experienced a 4-8 bushel decrease when Envita was removed from the intensive protocol. The intensive system set a high yield potential early in the season, and not including the season-long N supply from Envita meant the kernels did not achieve the crop’s potential.

 

Effect of Biological Management on Corn Yield

*Significantly different at P ≤ 0.10. Average of 20” & 30” rows at Champaign, IL during 2019.

 

This last observation highlights the benefit possible from Envita in stressed seasons in particular; when cold, wet conditions delay seeding and/or rush harvest in the fall, Envita treated crops have benefited from a steady supply of N all season long that protects the yield potential, and ultimately, improves returns.

Sible is continuing his studies with additional trials in the coming season. He is curious to further highlight the potential of N-fixing bacteria on corn beyond yield. We’re excited to see his results!

Read the full results:  University of Illinois – Envita Yield Results