5 Visible Signs Your Agricultural Biologicals Are Working
Key above-ground indicators that can give you confidence in your chosen agricultural biological
Growers face a lot of challenges that impact the profitability of their farming operation. From changing weather patterns, to skyrocketing costs, and diminishing margins, farmers need certainty that the dollars they spend on inputs are going to yield real results.
Certain microbial-based agricultural biologicals are proven to provide a wide range of benefits to crop quality, productivity and grower ROI. While some of those impacts take longer to materialize, there are several visible signs that a biological is working.
Here are five of the top above-ground indicators to look for and know that biological products are doing their job:
- More Vigorous Plants
- Better Quality Fruit
- Bigger Fruit, Earlier
- More Successful Transplanting
- Increased Grower ROI
Read on to get more details on each indicator.
1 Bigger, More Vigorous Plants
Certain agricultural biologicals contain endophytic strains of microbes, which reside inside plant tissues and form a symbiotic relationship with the plant. These strains continue to support the plant as it grows, providing benefits to plant development throughout its lifecycle.
The microbial strains in biologicals are typically selected for their ability to strengthen plant root development and increase plant leaf size and volume, leading to a more robust canopy. Bigger, more robust leaves allow crops to capture more sunlight and produce more carbohydrates—which plants use to grow bigger and stronger.
By increasing plant vigor and robustness, the use of biologicals helps plants increase their efficiency, productivity and overall quality.
2 Better Fruit Quality
Specialty growers are up against a multitude of challenges that impact crop productivity yet face growing pressure to produce a bigger volume of higher quality fruit.
Certain biologicals are shown to unlock unused nutrients from other inputs and make them more available to plants—contributing to the development of higher quality, more marketable fruit.
There is typically a tradeoff between fruit quantity and Brix levels—the total amount of sugar present in fruit. Fruit that contains higher brix levels also has a shorter shelf life, making them less marketable.
Trial data from a third-party contract research organization (CRO) in San Luis Obispo, CA (figure 2) shows that strawberries grown with Locus AG biologicals demonstrated higher levels of the three big macronutrients, NPK. By unlocking these critical nutrients through increased fertilizer uptake, biologicals support crops to produce more nutrient-dense, higher quality fruit.
In addition to benefiting the overall fruit quality, biologicals also enhance average fruit size and contribute to an earlier fruiting schedule.
3 Bigger Fruit, Earlier
Biologicals are shown to increase fruit size on an earlier timeline than crops grown using standard practices.
Tomatoes that were put on a program with Locus AG biologicals produced a higher yield of medium and extra-large sized tomatoes than those grown with standard practices.
Use of the biologicals over a season resulted in an 8% increase in total yield, with a 12% increase in early season harvest—together contributing to an up to $2k increase per acre for growers.
The benefits from biologicals are not exclusive to plants that are directly seeded, but also apply to plants that are transplanted in the field when outdoor conditions are more favorable.
4 More Successful Transplanting
Transplanting is the act of establishing crop seedlings either indoors or in a controlled outdoor environment, then moving the plants into a field to grow until harvest.
Farmers may choose to transplant certain crops for a variety of reasons, yet the goal is always to support maximum success in crop development.
Transplant crops have special fertilizer timing needs that are based on temperature and light conditions. Agricultural biologicals are shown to help support transplant crops before and after their transition into the field.
Biologicals have proven key benefits to help transplant crops thrive, including:
- Increasing nutrient availability
- Supporting root growth
- Enhancing plant vigor
- Boosting yields
With all of these key benefits to crop growth and productivity, biologicals also have the added benefit of improving grower ROI.
5 Increased Grower ROI
Agricultural biologicals aren’t just another input that growers need to factor into their budget. The profits generated from producing higher quality, more marketable fruit can cover, and often surpass, the cost of the biological products themselves.
Biologicals can also unlock and bolster benefits from previous crop management efforts such as fertilizers, manure and conservation tillage.
Locus AG offers several biological products that feature vital microbial strains precision targeted to provide far-reaching benefits to both crop productivity and grower ROI.
These strains are third-party tested and proven to:
- Expand early root development
- Enhance crop nutrient uptake and absorption
- Improve soil quality and structure
- Boost grower ROI
With all the benefits to crop quality and productivity, the use of biologicals is a proven strategy to increasing overall grower profits and ROI.
Want to learn how Locus AG vital biologicals can increase your yields and profits?
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