Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - New farm products and services
GROUND COVER NEW FARM PRODUCTS & SERVICES 14 New inoculants to 'jump start' crops IN MANY SOIL types, phosphate fertiliser applied at seeding is rapidly bound to calcium, magnesium and iron minerals in the soil, making it unavailable to the seedling. Following research in Canada and Australia, Novozymes Biologicals Australia have developed two biological inoculant products able to solubilise phosphate from the soil. One product, TagTeam®, will be available to growers in 2009; the other, JumpStart®, is awaiting regulatory approval. Both products will contain the naturally occurring soil fungus Penicillium bilaii. JumpStart® contains only P. bilaii and is suitable for use in wheat, barley, canola and sorghum. It can also be used on legume crops grown in situations where there is a high level of available nitrogen or high rates of nitrogen fertiliser are used at seeding and there is no requirement or benefit of a rhizobium-based inoculant. TagTeam® is a multi-action inoculant that addresses both nitrogen and phosphate fertility by combining rhizobia (N-Prove®) with the naturally occurring soil fungus P. bilaii. TagTeam® formulations will be suitable for use with field pea, lentil, faba bean, vetch, chickpea and lupin. Both products will offer the greatest potential in soils that tie up phosphate; activity is likely to be restricted in very sandy soils (more than 85 per cent sand) and soils with very high organic matter (more than 14 per cent). Responses have been recorded on calcareous sandy loam soils, alkaline clays and acidic soil types that have the ability to tie up phosphate. Where soil-available phosphate levels are high or very high (more than 40 ppm Colwell P) there is the potential to replace some phosphate fertiliser with the P. bilaii inoculant. How the inoculants work As seeds germinate and develop a root system the P. bilaii fungus and the plant form a mutually beneficial relationship. The fungus grows and multiplies along the crop roots; it feeds on the root exudates and releases organic acids into the soil. These acids break the bonds holding the phosphate nutrient in a mineral form and in so doing convert the phosphate from a less available form into a form readily accessed by the plant. P bilaii also helps with the efficient conversion of fertiliser phosphate into useable forms available for plant uptake. The result is enhanced phosphate uptake that assists the crop to achieve its yield potential. When the phosphate-solubilising fungi is combined with rhizobia there are additional benefits. The increase in available phosphate also provides much needed energy for the nitrogen fixation process, so enhancing the relationship between the rhizobia and the legume. Another benefit of the soil fungus in relation to rhizobia is that it enables more root hairs to develop. Each root hair is a potential entry point for the rhizobia bacteria. More entry points mean an increase in nodulation, nitrogen fixation and, potentially, yield. The promotion of root growth makes the plant better able to access moisture and a range of nutrients, not just phosphate, so the plant is better able to withstand a variety of crop stresses, including short dry periods and seedling disease. Benefits By solubilising less-available phosphate to a more available form the fungi promotes greater phosphate use efficiency, in turn this results in more rapid seedling emergence, early vigour, greater stress tolerance, and more even maturity. All of these can help promote yield improvements. In western Canada, 37 split-paddock trials have shown a six per cent increase in yield with this phosphate-solubilising fungi and rhizobia in both SOIL BIOLOGY Seed inoculants based on phosphate-solubilising fungi could help growers cut fertiliser rates and boost yield By Rob Velthuis Novozymes Biologicals Australia formerly Philom Bios Australia, a joint venture company of the GRDC and Novozymes Biological Ltd, is developing a suite of microbial inoculant products for grain legume, cereal and oilseed growers with the aim of increasing their yields and profits. The first inoculant to be launched in 2009 is a product called TagTeam®. Research collaboration between CSIRO Entomology and the GRDC--Novozymes joint venture continues to develop new-generation phosphate-solubilising inoculants adapted to Australian agri-ecological conditions. The successful adoption of these elite inoculants requires a thorough understanding of their ecology in cropping soils, including information on factors affecting their abilities to solubilise poorly available forms of soil phosphate, actively colonise growing roots and proliferate within the root zone. The research is improving prediction of inoculation responses and will help better target inoculants to particular cropping conditions with the objective of providing a range of industry benefits.
GC Supplement - Agronomy
GC Supplement - Feedgrains