A recent poll by Map of Ag’s Farm Research Unit showed that only 5% of farmers are currently using biostimulants. But with the shift towards a reduction of chemical control methods and growing use of disease resistance alternatives, will biostimulants breakthrough to mainstream use on arable farms?
Twelve percent of farmers stated that they would consider using them in the near future, while 64% said they had never considered using them and 13% said they had not heard of them. Current usage was most popular in the eastern region of England, mainly on wheat varieties.
As chemical control methods have become more regulated, focus has turned to biostimulants to aid in crop health. Designed to enhance plant growth and nutrient use efficiency, via the addition to seed, plant, or soil, biostimulants claim to offer an increased yield and provide crop protection against disease.
Map of Ag’s Head of Arable and Produce, Clive Blacker explained: “As awareness of soil health and the soil microbiome increases so does our understanding of the opportunity work with nature’s solutions to support improved crop yield by harmonising natural systems.”
There is ongoing research exploring how using biostimulants as part of the crop production system could support or replace agrochemical inputs and aid farmers in increasing their outputs.
“The sceptics are nervous that our current understanding of the soil microbiome is limited, and we could be meddling in a Pandora’s box that we don’t understand enough or disrupt existing well working systems.” Mr Blacker concluded.
It is clear that evidence is essential to support farmers in their quest to adopt these newer practices that have the opportunity to improve margins.
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