Making Sense of Biologicals: Benefits of Biostimulants

Tacy CalliesBiostimulants, MSOB

biostimulants

Fertilizers help crops reach maximum yields while fungicides prevent diseases. But what if there were products available that could further enhance the fruiting qualities all growers hope to achieve every season?

IMPROVED FRUIT PRODUCTION
If growers can increase the level of flowering hormones in their crops, this will allow for a better fertilization process that will generate improved fruit set and more fruit. This leads to increased marketable yield and significantly improves the pack-out ratio for fresh market growers. These goals can be accomplished with biostimulants.

“A more solid flowering will turn into a higher rate of fruit set to generate more qualitative fruit production,” said Eric Herve, C Green Ag Biotechnology president and founder.

Polyamines (PAs) are endogenous phytohormones or flowering hormones that plants produce at different times of development during the growing season. If growers apply these natural active compounds contained in some biostimulants, and more specifically the ones obtained from specific seaweed varieties, they will increase the level of PAs in their crops.

The intensity level of these PAs is at its highest right before, during and soon after the fertilization period. But an increase in other kinds of phytohormones (contained in C Green Ag’s biostimulant CYAN 365®) produced during the fertilization process results in better cell differentiation and division. All this generates an increased fruit-set ratio, leading to higher quality marketable fruit production. The result is that the crop will come closer to its maximum genetic potential and will increase the grower’s return on investment.

REDUCED HLB STRESS
CYAN 365® has proven to be a valuable resource for citrus growers trying to overcome huanglongbing (HLB), known as citrus greening disease. HLB is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that feeds on the plant’s foliage and transmits the bacterium that causes the disease. HLB has drastically reduced Florida citrus production.

While the product is not a cure for citrus greening, it is a natural biostimulant that works in concert with fungicides and fertilizers. CYAN 365® will slow a citrus tree’s decline and reduce the stress HLB causes to the plant.

Other benefits include quality flowering and yields, improved uniform sizes, less fruit drop, an increase in juice and Brix content, improved overall tree health and better fungicide efficacy.

THE POWER OF SEAWEED
“We are different from any other company that has a seaweed-based product on the market,” Herve said. “Most of the market offers seaweed from one single variety. Our product involves five different varieties of seaweed from which we are producing extracts. From these five extracts, we are taking just a part of each. We then assemble these concentrated natural active compounds into a single product (CYAN 365®), which, in this case, is the one specific to perennial fruit crops.”

Why is seaweed so effective? University of California Davis professor Patrick Brown said that seaweed from cold climates has long been used in agriculture. It originates from harsh environments, and in the intertidal zones between the high tide and low tide. It will transition from being submerged in freezing cold water to being exposed in sunshine for 17 or 18 hours.

According to Herve, the certified organic seaweeds in CYAN 365® are imported directly from the Britanny region of France, where the largest varietal field of seaweed in the world is found. The seaweeds are processed at C Green’s facility in Stuart, Florida.

“You have a plant species or an algal species that has gone through extraordinarily different environmental stresses. The premise of a lot of the seaweed companies is there within those products, some organic materials, some genes, some materials that get these plants their resilience,” Brown said. “By extracting them properly and by applying them to planting systems or agricultural systems, you can generate stress tolerance and tolerance of extreme environments.”

Biostimulants serve as a booster or performance enhancer for the crop. Products like CYAN 365® are utilized to improve the yield and quality of the fruit of citrus and other crops. It strengthens crops and sustains them through adverse environmental conditions and disease pressure.

NUTRITIONAL EFFECTS
“Biostimulants are used to enhance the communication or exchanges of the main metabolic function of the crop. Of course, the fertilization process is a big one,” Herve said. “But we also have the nutritional effect. We have other elements or other compounds capable of strengthening the immune system of the crop. Therefore, it makes the crop healthier. You also have compounds that help or improve the efficacy of the fungicides.”

Biostimulants are important in helping nutrients cycle more efficiently in the soil.

“The soil is ultimately the source of all the nutrients a crop will require. You can get that as a fertilizer, but also it can be in the soil, in the organic matter that’s present in the soil. The goal of a good balanced agricultural system is to maintain that cycle,” Brown explained. “What the plant takes from the system is replaced by either external inputs or naturally from the cycling of organic matter in the soil. Some of these biostimulants have been shown to help the plant do that cycling more efficiently.”

DO YOUR HOMEWORK
To grasp how this natural process works and the important role that a seaweed-based biostimulant such as CYAN 365® can play in agricultural production, it is important to understand what biostimulants are. They are part of a broader category of biologicals which represent a group of products derived from living organisms. Growers can implement these products in combination with appropriate chemical applications to provide additional yield gains as well as protection against pests, plant diseases and weeds that plague crop production every year. This can be achieved in an environmentally friendly way.

Growers who plan to use a biostimulant in their farming operation are advised to do their homework before purchasing a biological product. Because there are so many products available, growers need to determine what will work best for their situation.

For more information about C Green Ag Biotechnology, visit cgreenag.com.

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Clint Thompson

Clint Thompson