The North Carolina-based company recently announced the release of a seed treatment, Take off ST, aimed at improving the way some row crops, such as corn, soybeans or wheat, respond to nitrogen in the soil, said Kurt Seevers, technical development manager for seed treatments and inoculants.
Use of the treatment has been seen to boost wheat plant’s nitrogen content by 48%, increase carbon usage by 30% in wheat and hike yield results for corn, soybeans and wheat, reported the company.
Take off ST is applied to seeds and tends to help crops sprout sooner and develop slightly faster, Seevers told FeedNavigator. The product helps the plant use the nitrogen it finds more efficiently.
“You get faster germination, and emergence and a better root system,” he said. “So it allows the plant to seek out more nitrogen from the soil.”
The technology was discovered at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, he said. Verdesian then developed it. Some early work looked at the application to small grains, but the US company has been working on improving the treatment for production crops like corn, soybean and wheat.
In use, Verdesian has seen an increase of about three bushels an acre for wheat, said Seevers. In corn, the product on average has boosted production by about seven bushels an acre.
In soybean, use of the product can yield about an additional two bushels an acre, said Seevers. However, there also are promising results from combining the nitrogen seed treatment with use of Preside CL or a rhizobia inoculant. The inoculant provides bacteria that help the plant take more nitrogen from the atmosphere.
“Putting two different technologies together, that complements the plant nicely,” he said. “We see the rhizobia fixing the nitrogen and the Take off helping the plant. So instead of having to fertilize, most of the nitrogen comes from the atmosphere and makes that process work a little better over just a straight inoculant product. We’re gaining a couple of additional bushels than [we’d see] just with the inoculant.”
Additionally, he said, the Take off treatment helps increase plant biomass and use additional carbon dioxide.
“We’re producing more on an acre than we ever have before, and we’re taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the soil because of the cropping practices that we use,” he said.
Market reactions and growth
Reactions to the treatment have been positive, said Seevers.
“There are a lot of people who are very interested in the technology,” he said. “We’ve had nice yield results, and people are curious because it’s a new kind of activity.”
The company is working to improve its market in the US through educating agricultural retailers and distributors, he said. Although the product is being offered to farmers working with broad acre crops, it also can be used with small grains like rice.
While the product has an established market in Europe, the company also is seeking to expand into South America and Central America, Africa and the Asia Pacific region, he said. “We’re looking at ways to utilize this technology across the globe,” he added.
“It’s a safe technology to work with, and we haven’t seen any labeling concerns,” he said. “With the Take Off we hope we can expand into areas where we might not have been very strong in the past.”