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The Key to Water Productivity is Nourishing the Soil Microbiome

The Key to Water Productivity is Nourishing the Soil Microbiome

Are microbial products the key to helping with drought issues?

By Braxten Breen Intern

A product’s of Heliae Agriculture, PhycoTerra, is a microbial food product improving soil health, productivity, and water productivity.

Bruce McTavish, a representative of Heliae Agriculture, spoke specifically about the keys to water productivity when nourishing the soil microbiome at the 2022 Western Precision Agriculture Conference & Ag Technology Showcase in November.

“In a teaspoon of soil, you find over a billion bacteria and a million fungi … just imagine what’s in an acre … if we just feed them and put them to work, you can really wake them up.”

McTavish reviewed that our crops need microbes, specifically fungi and bacteria, that are critical for their growth and development and will improve soil aggregation and nutrient uptake.

PhycoTerra offers a solution for nourishing microbes, it feeds the microbes, putting them to work, which should result in an increase in soil structure, resulting in healthier crops.

McTavish provided various examples and results from previous tests conducted by PhycoTerra consisting of untreated vs treated soil, consistent responses in various soil types, times to feed farm soil, and water holding capacity improvements.

For soil moisture, in one field test, the soil would only take up 0.83mm per day of moisture, where with PhycoTerra the soil had a much greater result of up to 1.45mm per day.

Learn more about some of the PhycoTerra field testing results by watching the video below.

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Fertilizer Prices, Rates, and Costs for 2023

Video: Fertilizer Prices, Rates, and Costs for 2023

While fertilizer prices have declined since spring, fertilizer prices remain high, and fertilizer costs are significantly higher than a year ago. Therefore, reducing rates where practicable seems prudent. Some fields will have soil test levels above those that will cause a yield response from phosphorus and potassium applications. Significantly reducing or eliminating applications in these fields is economically prudent. Moreover, nitrogen applications above university recommendations can substantially reduce returns. Changes in nitrogen prices from now to spring likely will be influenced by changes in corn and natural gas prices.

Schnitkey, G., N. Paulson, C. Zulauf, K. Swanson and J. Baltz. "Fertilizer Prices, Rates, and Costs for 2023." farmdoc daily (12):148, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, September 27, 2022.


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