Monsanto and Novozymes advance new microbal solutions to produce super crops
The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto’s and Novozymes’ collaboration to improve crop harvests through products containing naturally-occurring microbes, today announced results from its 2016 field trial program and shared an updated research pipeline.
Yield increases among top microbial strains averaged over 3 bushels per acre for corn and over 2 bushels per acre for soy.
Among the pipeline highlights is the Corn BioYield 2 project, which builds upon the recently-launched Acceleron B-300 SAT.
Field trial results in 2016 showed Corn BioYield 2 project strains – combined with Acceleron B-300 SAT - increasing corn yields by up to an average of 5 bushels per acre over a base Acceleron seed treatment. A Corn BioYield 2 product is expected to launch in 2019. In earlier stages of development are other yield-increasing products for corn and soy, and a microbial product that can protect soy plants against nematodes. The Alliance also announced that it will start developing new products for wheat, the third crop in its pipeline.
The BioAg Alliance will introduce two new products in 2017. Acceleron B-300 SAT is a corn inoculant based on a fungus found in soil. The fungus grows along the roots of corn plants and increases nutrient uptake to the plants. Acceleron® B-200 SAT stimulates the growth of beneficial microbes in the soil to improve nutritional uptake of soy plants, which can lead to improved soy plant health.
“We have great new products on the market that will help farmers produce more crops in a sustainable way,” said Colin Bletsky, Novozymes’ Vice President for BioAg. “We continue to increase our understanding of how plants and microbes interact and this is reflected in our strong pipeline. It will help propel biological solutions from agricultural niche to industry mainstream over the coming decade.”
“This year’s field trial results are especially encouraging given the backdrop of overall record crop yields in 2016,” said Juan Ferreira, VP of Monsanto’s Vegetable Seeds, Seed Applied Solutions and Crop Protection businesses.
He added: “Our field testing program remains the largest, most extensive and integrated compared to others in the industry. We are automating our data collection and integrating our field testing network, and with each season of field trials, we are getting even better at evaluating microbe and environment interactions to understand and optimize precise product placement.”
BioAg Alliance biological products are derived from naturally-occurring microbes such as bacteria and fungi. The Alliance markets BioYield products, which help plants with nutrient uptake, and BioControl products, which help protect plants against pests and diseases.
The products can be applied to seeds before planting, to soil in-furrow, or to growing crops. They can be used by farmers that grow broad-acre crops such as corn and soy, and on fruits and vegetables. Microbial products can increase crop yields and complement or replace agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, while helping farmers reduce the amount of CO2 produced from their land.
BioAg Alliance products are currently used on more than 80 million acres of farm land, primarily in North and South America. The Alliance envisions that BioAg products will be used on 250-500 million acres globally by 2025.