Stacked Microbial Seed Treatment Boosts Corn and Soybean Yields

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In California, Marrone Bio Innovation and Israel’s Groundwork BioAg say joint field trials have shown yield increases in corn and soybean from using the world’s first all-biological, comprehensive seed treatment.

The Biological Stack Seed Treatment (BSST) is comprised of two insecticidal/nematicidal bacteria and one biostimulant/fungicidal bacterium from MBI; and a mycorrhizal fungi offered by Groundwork. Working synergistically, the microorganisms increased crop yields and resilience under abiotic stress conditions. It also reduced fertilizer requirements—especially phosphorus—and increased resistance to soil-dwelling pests and plant diseases.

“The addition of Groundwork’s mycorrhizae appear to enhance [MBI’s] microbes,” says Dr. Pam Marrone, Founder and CEO of MBI. “ We believe that this project has potential for high impact in the seed treatment market in general across a broad range of crops, and in particular can meet an unaddressed need for the rapidly growing organic grain segment and regions where pest resistance is an issue. Based on the BSST results, we are keen on expanding our trials to include biotic stresses such as sudden death syndrome in soybean, as well as Fusarium stalk rot and Pythium in corn and soybeans.”

In corn, the stacked treatments reduced corn rootworm populations and corn lodging, performing as well or better than the commercial chemical standard. In soybeans, MBI’s nematicides combined with Groundwork’s mycorrhizal inoculant reduced soybean cyst nematodes as well as the commercial standard treatment.  Yields of BSST-treated soybeans averaged 15% higher than those of untreated soybeans.