Research was conducted by Dr. Steve Rossall at the University of Nottingham to investigate the benefits of Interagro’s new biostimulant seed treatment – so how does Newton measure up? The research showed significant germination and establishment benefits from treating wheat and barley seed with the biostimulant seed treatment Newton.

In these challenging times, global food security is becoming increasingly important. It is vital that crop yields are consistent and improved, even when climatic conditions are not ideal. Good early crop establishment is essential to ensure crop productivity can be maximised.  To this end a range of materials known as plant biostimulants are now available to farmers and growers.  These include foliar-applied materials such as Bridgeway, which have been available for a number of years. To be successful, biostimulants must provide a cost-effective benefit to users and be easily integrated into existing farm practices.  To support the latter, Interagro have now developed a seed-applied biostimulant treatment, known as Newton.

A series of laboratory petri dish and glasshouse pot experiments were conducted at the University of Nottingham on behalf of Interagro. The tests investigated the effect of Newton on early plant growth in winter wheat and spring barley.

When the rate of seed germination in winter wheat was tested at 7oC (a soil temperature which late-sown wheat may be exposed to) the time taken to achieve 90% seed germination was improved by two days with Newton treated seed. At 10oC Newton improved germination by one day over naked seed. At both temperatures Newton increased the rate of germination over Vibrance Duo by 1.5 days and 0.75 days respectively.

Newton improved germination

At 7 ºC Newton treated seed germinated 2 days faster than untreated seed and 1.5 days faster than Vibrance Duo

Effect of seed treatment on germination in Winter Wheat at 7 ºC

University of Nottingham 2019. Winter Wheat c.v. Siskin. 10 replicates.

At 10 ºC, Newton spead up germination by 1 day over the untreated and 0.75 days over Vibrance Duo

Effect of seed treatment on germination in Winter Wheat at 10 ºC

University of Nottingham 2019. Winter Wheat c.v. Siskin. 10 replicates.

In the glasshouse, plant growth over the first four weeks after emergence was evaluated. Significant enhancement of root growth was observed, with a smaller increase in shoot growth.  In wheat and barley increases in root biomass were commonly in excess of 30% after seed treatment with Newton.

Newton improved root and shoot growth

Newton increased rooting by an average of +43% and shoot growth by an average of +22% in Cereals

Average results from 4 research studies in Wheat and Barley

University of Nottingham 2018 & 2019. N=4 (3x Wheat; 1x Spring Barley)

Moreover, a combination of seed treatment followed by a foliar application of Bridgeway gave a root growth enhancement in excess of 50%.

A follow up treatment with Bridgeway increased root and shoot growth even further

Study 1 - Newton increased root and shoot growth in Wheat, foliar Bridgeway increased it even further

University of Nottingham 2019. Winter Wheat c.v. Siskin. Bridgeway applied GS14. Trial terminated 21 days after foliar spray. 10 replicates.

Study 2 - Newton fb Bridgeway benefits were reinforced

University of Nottingham 2019. Winter wheat c.v. Siskin. Bridgeway applied GS14. Trial terminated 30 days after foliar spray. 10 replicates.

Newton increased chlorophyll significantly, increasing photosynthesis

University of Nottingham 2019. Bridgeway at 2L applied at GS14. Trial terminated 30 days after foliar spray. Winter Wheat c.v. Siskin. 10 Replicates.

How does Newton measure up to other seed treatments?

Newton benefits were markedly superior to the benefits observed by seed treatment with Vibrance Duo. Although this is used primarily as a fungicide, claims have been made that Vibrance Duo can also enhance root growth.

Newton increased root and shoot growth significantly over Vibrance Duo

University of Nottingham 2019. Winter Wheat, c.v. Siskin. 10 replicates.

In a 2nd study, Newton increased rooting over Vibrance Duo and Take Off

University of Nottingham 2019. Winter Wheat, c.v. Siskin. 10 replicates.

Shoot growth improved over Vibrance Duo and the untreated

University of Nottingham 2019. Winter Wheat, c.v. Siskin. 10 replicates.

Whilst such proof of concept glasshouse pot experiments may give an enhanced indication of performance, as the plants were grown under ideal conditions, Interagro’s own field trials have supported these conclusions.  I believe the beneficial effects of Newton are real and can provide a significant improvement in crop establishment, leading to enhanced and more consistent yields.

Newton is an excellent seed treatment addition to the range of plant biostimulants available to farmers.

Steve Rossall, University of Nottingham