Aug 14 2019

Get your cereals off to the best start this Autumn with Bridgeway

Build resilience with Bridgeway

Climate change, loss of Deter seed dressing and weed pressures are arguably the biggest agronomic challenges facing cereal growers this Autumn and why getting crops off to the best possible start with biostimulant Bridgeway makes perfect sense.

For many growers, autumn drilling presents an exciting opportunity for a fresh start in the farming calendar – the planting of a new seed full of potential. In reality, it’s a potential that could become easily eroded by poor establishment, crop stress, and pest/weed competition.

Bridgeway from two true leaves will help to establish a strongly tillered, well rooted competitive crop quick out of the blocks, with greater tolerance to environmental and herbicide stress that could also be less attractive to aphids.

Independent research at the University of Nottingham in 2018 and 2019 has shown that Bridgeway significantly increases root and shoot growth in winter wheat, with even greater effects under environmental stress.


Pathologist Dr. Steve Rossall designed tests to investigate the effect of Bridgeway on early root growth in winter wheat (Fig 1 and 2). Treatments were applied at 4 true leaves (GS14) and assessed 30 days later. Bridgeway at 1 L/ha increased root growth by 47% over untreated control plants and was statistically significant at 95% confidence limits. Bridgeway at 2 L/ha increased rooting even further, by 77% over the untreated. This increase was statistically significant over the untreated and Bridgeway at 1 L/ha. The results were just as compelling in 2018 trials.

Bridgeway at 1 L/ha increased shoot growth by 22% over untreated plants and at 2 L/ha, increased shoot growth by 35%. Bridgeway at 2 L/ha was statistically significant.


Stress tests

In stressed wheat (see Fig 3 and 4), the benefits of Bridgeway were even more impressive. Under nutrient stress (achieved by feeding with a 10% rate of standard feed) Bridgeway increased root growth by 29% and shoot growth by 27%. Under water stress (imposed by irrigation with the standard feed, but only every forth day rather than daily or when the plants started to show drought symptoms) Bridgeway increased root growth by 48% and shoot growth by 24%. Under heat stress (standard feed but plants grown at constant 30oC) Bridgeway increased root growth by 49% and shoot growth by 24%. These increases in root and shoot growth were all statistically significant at 95% confidence limits.


Faster establishment

For many growers autumn drilling presents a unique set of challenges to the crop – soils start out dry and inevitably become wetter and cooler as winter draws in, impacting rooting and nutrient availability. Photosynthesis slows as daylight hours diminish slowing crop growth and crops may well be competing for space, nutrients and water where weed pressure is high. Whether you’re farming late drilled heavy clays with a black-grass burden or light soils prone to drought, establishing a strongly rooted and vigorous crop is essential to protect potential ahead of winter.

The research at the University of Nottingham clearly demonstrates that early applications of Bridgeway help crops put down significantly bigger root systems with more shoot growth. A strongly rooted crop with more leaf biomass will not only provide a bigger solar panel for photosynthesis but also produce a bigger crop that establishes faster and is more tolerant to pests and competitive weeds.

Greater tolerance

If there’s one thing that can be guaranteed this Autumn, its that crops will experience stress at some point caused by environmental factors (such as drought or waterlogging) or crop protection product application. Building resilience into cropping systems is becoming increasingly important as a changing global climate leads to more severe weather extremes.

Herbicide application can also “check” the crop. Most herbicides such as sulfonylureas, control weeds by targeting and inhibiting protein or enzymes in plants. Amino acid biosynthesis inhibiting herbicides inhibit enzymes of the plant and block the production of amino acids. In the crop, this can have an immediate impact on carbon and nitrogen metabolism and its photosynthetic rate, leading to slowing of growth and sometimes paler leaves.

The amino acids and peptides in Bridgeway play a crucial role in every aspect of growth and development, including root and shoot signalling, herbicide detoxification, crop recovery and vigour. Bridgeway treated crops have a higher tolerance to environmental and herbicide stress.

Higher efficiency

According to American Agriculturalist and Entomologist Dr Tom Dykstra, a healthy crop not only produces a crop better able to reach its potential, it is also less attractive to sap sucking pests such as aphids. With the loss of Deter seed dressing, raising concerns over aphids and the threat of BYDV, producing a healthy crop could be all that is needed to minimise the threat.

Dr Dykstra has been researching plant health and insect behaviour for 20 years. In a recent podcast “How insects identify unhealthy plants” he reports on his findings. He states that many plants are not reaching their potential, we need to improve plant health, and believes huge increases are possible. To do this we need to increase the efficiency of plants by increasing photosynthesis.

Optimising photosynthesis optimises the production of crop sugars which the crop uses for energy. This we can measure using a BRIX refractometer as the relationship between BRIX and photosynthesis is linear. Dr Dykstra’s research found that plants “advertise” themselves as being healthy or unhealthy by sending out electromagnetic vibrations which insects tune into. Most insects are attracted only to unhealthy plants as they can’t digest healthy plant material. According to Dr. Dykstra most crops have a BRIX of 4-8 but the optimal is 12-14. A crop with a BRIX of 12 (ie photosynthesising efficiently) will not be attractive as insects won’t be able to digest them. He also found that during crop stress, photosynthesis is stunted causing sugar production (& BRIX) to decrease which will increase the susceptibility of the crop to pest damage. The amino acids and peptides (chains of amino acids) in Bridgeway increase the photosynthetic efficiency of plants by increasing chlorophyll production.

BRIX measurements taken in Spring 2019 crops showed BRIX increases where Bridgeway was applied. Whilst we are heavily researching in this area and still have more to learn, it is clear that Bridgeway increases the photosynthetic efficiency and health of plants with potentially an increased resilience to pests.

Advantages of Bridgeway 

  • Promotes stronger root and shoot growth, leading to faster establishment
  • Increases root and shoot growth even under environmental stress, increasing the tolerance of crops to climatic extremes
  • Enhances herbicide detoxification mechanisms (in crops only), preventing herbicides impacting crop health
  • Supplies all the amino acids and peptides crops need, increasing metabolic and photosynethetic efficiency
  • Produces healthier crops, with possibly greater resilience to pests
  • Contains all 18 L-amino acids required by plants for healthy growth, development and stress recovery
  • 100% natural ingredients, produced to food grade standards
  • Verified by the Soil Association and certified by Organic Farmers & Growers for use in all organic crops unrestricted
  • Vegan, vegetarian and GM free, suitable for all end markets
  • Compatible with all common crop protection products and fertilisers

Download your copy of our Autumn Cereal Guide

Get your cereal crops off to the best start this Autumn with Bridgeway from two true leaves (GS12). To discover more, download our guide by simply inputting your email address and clicking on submit.

Discover more about Bridgeway in oilseed rape

Get in touch

Require technical assistance or product information? Please get in touch with our Technical Manager, Stuart Sutherland.

For all other general enquiries, please email or call us at the office. If you’d prefer, drop us a message using our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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