Watch for Biological Use to Continue to Grow

Biologicals—whether seed treatment or in-furrow—continue to thrive and gain investment dollars in agriculture. As this technology comes to the forefront farmers need to understand where the industry is now and what to expect in the future.

This week at the American Seed Trade Association annual meeting, the industry’s largest seed-focused gathering, biologicals have a conversation driver for many.

There are two ways biologicals are created: with microorganisms or naturally-occurring substances, according to Mark Howieson, BASF global biological seed solutions research and development team leader, functional crop care, crop protection. Microorganisms include bacteria, fungi and yeast while naturally-occurring substances include plant extracts, humic substances and hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids.

When farmers purchase biologicals they buy one of three types, biostimulants, biofertilizers or biopesticides, Howieson says. Biostimulants impact crop and soil quality as well as the plant’s physiology. Biofertilizers help fixate nitrogen and stabilize phosphate. Biopesticides protect the plant from insects, disease, nematodes or other pests.

“We see biopesticides as the fastest growing opportunity,” says David Winston, seed treatment key account manager at Albaugh LLC. “We offer a combination of chemical and biopesticide treatments now and see this growing.”

Biopesticides do present a bigger challenge to companies than their counterparts, however. There is more regulatory red tape required to bring those products to market.

“There is a plethora of opportunity for smaller, more nimble companies,” says Will Polese, Director at MarketsandMarkets, a market research firm. “However, they often need to reach out to larger players to balance the costs that come with testing.”

Before a farmer buys a product it’s critical they can see their likelihood of a positive ROI, that’s where thorough, albeit expensive, field testing comes in. This is where strategic collaboration with companies that have deeper pockets is important.

Companies producing biologicals are making sure the products are easier to use than the first products that came to market years ago. This means the products can be mixed with synthetic chemicals and often have longer shelf life—all making it is smoother, more pleasant experience for farmers.


Latest News

How Important is U.S. Ag and Food to the Economy?

In celebration of National Ag Day and National Ag Week, the 2023 Feeding the Economy report shows just how vital the industry is to U.S. families, communities and the world.

Ferrie: Ready, Set, Whoops! A Fast Start To Fieldwork Could Cost You Big In Corn At V5

Caution can help you avoid creating compaction or density layers. Plus, if you're applying anhydrous now, allowing 14 days between the application and planting can prevent dead or damaged plants and costly yield dings.

Nebraska Farmland Values Jump 14% in 2023 — Up 30% in Two Years

This year marks the second-largest increase in the market value of agricultural land in Nebraska since 2014 and the highest non-inflation-adjusted statewide land value in the 45-year history of the survey. 

U.S. Milk Production and Cow Numbers Both Rise

The February 2023 USDA Milk Production report showed an 0.8% increase in year-over-year milk production with a total of 17.7 billion lbs. of milk. Also following suit, U.S. cow numbers also documented growth.

Crude Oil Prices Drop Below $70: What is the Outlook for Consumers at the Pump and Farmers Heading Into Spring Planting?

Oil prices are also off their highs of last year and gas and diesel prices are also sliding at the pump, but will that trend continue ahead of planting?   Energy experts are hoping the answer is yes.  

Can History Making $20 Billion in Inflation Reduction Act Get Rolled Out Quickly Enough?

Industry experts say the new legislative package represents a 'generational opportunity' for conservation funding and needs to reach U.S. farmers and livestock producers sooner rather than later, starting this spring.