WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Biological products are one way that
farmers can nurture crops.
Enzymes are used in many industries, from detergents to wine
and beer making. In agriculture, enzymes can be used to boost soil health.
The benefits of these products were discussed at the
Asgrow/DeKalb Ag Academy.
“They act on a plant,” said Margi Schmidt, spokeswoman at
Novozyme, a division of Monsanto that focuses on biological agriculture.
“They cause a plant to take action, to increase sugar
production, to increase yields. They can grow and multiply in the bag or in the
soil. They are synergistic, so they will work together to cause a reaction,” she
Examples of agricultural biologicals are Rhizobia,
Penicillium bilaii, Tricoderma and LCO Promoter Technology. LCOs are molecules
that enhance a plant’s nutritional profile, including better root and shoot
development in soybeans.
“I consider it a cheap insurance policy,” said A.J. Booher,
a farmer who has used biological products on soybeans. “Even if it only earns
one-tenth of a bushel more, it’s worth it.”
Biological products can enhance crops by:
* Increasing the supply of nutrients to the crop;
* Stimulating crop stress mitigation;
* Generally improving crop health and productivity; and
* Controlling insects and disease.
Adoption of biological products has been slow in the past
because results are not always visible and the product can be slow acting,
Popularity for ag biologicals are on the rise, however. The
projected market share of microbials is $4.4 billion by 2021.
“This is not a new concept. Microbes have always been
around,” Schmidt said. “It’s not a new product. It’s just really growing in the
marketplace right now. It’s one more thing that will help us increase
To learn more about agricultural biologicals, visit