Monsanto announced a new strategy to be adopted next year to increase farm yields by reducing the use of fertilizers and CO2 emissions. The company, which recently was purchased by Bayer, revealed that the use of fungi and bacterias for microbian treatment has had more effective results, than planting without these tools.
The tests were made with a seed coverage, developed in partnership with the Danish company Novozymes, which contains a beneficial fungus that helps plants in the initial growth stage. During tests on corn, the product is maintained for a longer period on seeds and is compatible with the new chemical treatment, which is the opposite use from earlier versions. The technology could be in use in over 36 million hectares by 2025.
“The seed treatment could be converted into one of the major biological products of the agricultural sector. By exploiting the power of nature’s microbes, farmers can produce more crops,” explained Colin Bletsky, vice-president of the bioagricultural division at Novozymes.
Further, John Combest, a speaker at Monsanto, noted the large potential for microbian treatment during a Bloomberg interview, saying, “The microbial agricultural market currently has sales of US$ 1.8 billion, while the chemical substance market and pesticides is valued at US$ 240 billion.”
The new microbian coverage, derived from a fungus called Penicillium Bilaiae, works by growing through the roots of the plants and helping them access nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil. In tests, crops grown with the microbial treatment had an increase of yields of over 3 bushels per acre, on average, according to the company.
The spores will remain on the seeds for two years, while with the previous version of the product it remained for 120 days. This means that, by using JumpStart, producers had a time limit in which they had to plant treated seeds.
Also, farmers would have to apply the application to seeds because it was not compatible with traditional chemical treatments, including insecticides and fungicides.
The new treatment is expected to be included by Monsanto with other coverages.