Insider’s view – 3 year Bridgeway review in Cereals
Beat stress, protect potential
The subject of biostimulants is one of those that divides opinion. Some growers and agronomists are exploring their potential, others have reservations and are waiting to be convinced. Some may even have given them a go and seen no benefit.
Whichever camp you may fall into, there’s a growing dataset behind Bridgeway that’s beginning to tell its story and it’s one that we’re keen to share.
Despite a couple of high yielding responses to Bridgeway applications in last seasons FIG momentum trials of +0.93 t/ha and a significant result of +0.84 t/ha compared to farm standards, the end of year report for the Cereal YEN Farmer Innovation Trials read – amino acid biostimulants could do better – citing a distinct lack of field evidence, and little or no independent data in cereals and oilseed rape crops.
2018 trials reported -0.26 to +0.5 t/ha yield benefit. 2019 trials cited -0.47 to +0.18 t/ha yield affect. It’s a picture that on the face of it isn’t very exciting, and no doubt disappointing.
However, after 3 years of replicated field trials and commercial tramline trials, with 41 data points in winter wheat to compare against, the picture is brighter for Interagro’s amino acid biostimulant Bridgeway, and also points to situations where growers can expect a yield benefit, and those where they can’t. The data reveals an average yield benefit of +0.35 t/ha over years 2017 to 2019, with a range of -0.30 to +3.0 t/ha increase in yield, the upper end in the stressful growing periods of 2017 and 2018.
Its results that show not all amino acid biostimulant products are the same and it’s results that have guided Interagro’s position for 2020 – that applications of Bridgeway and sister product Zonda, are best suited to help prevent abiotic stress or help crops recover from stress, at least in cereals. Bridgeway and Zonda are stress busting solutions and it is in these situations where yield benefits should only be expected.
April and May were stressful periods for crops in 2017 and 2018, with temperature and moisture stress clearly impacting yield in cereals.
In March 2017 we saw the 5th warmest March on record, and April recorded only 30% of the typical rainfall. Cereal crops were under stress at the critical stem extension / T1 stage. March 2018 was the 7th wettest on record, with Beast from East, Storm Emma, followed by a cold start to April and the hottest April day on record since 1949 by the end of the month. May then turned exceptionally sunny and dry. Many cereal crops would have been under high levels of stress. In both 2017 and 2018 we saw excellent yield benefits from applying Bridgeway in a range of situations on farm.
Conversely, 2019 saw the 5th wettest March on record, April started warm and cool followed by more settled conditions and May saw a mix of showers and warm sunny weather – 2019 was not a stressful year for most cereal crops. As a result, cereal crops were less responsive to Bridgeway. Only in stressful growing situations did Bridgeway benefits (higher brix readings, larger flag leafs, bigger ears) translate into yield.
With more experience under our belts and a wealth of data to call upon, the results we have for cereals certainly indicate that Bridgeway is a stress product, and one of the best, for stressed cereal crops.
When applying any type of product to a crop you need to know what you are trying to achieve and why. A crop can produce all the amino acids and peptides it needs in ideal conditions. Its only when the raw materials (water, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide) to produce them or the crop is stressed does the production slow/stop. A biostimulant acts like a supplement until the crop can start production again. Oversupplying may push potential but then you get into the realms of Liebigs Law – the law of limitations – other elements restrict yield gains.
Recommendations for 2020
Interagro’s advice for 2020 is to tailor any amino acid biostimulant applications in cereals (and oilseed rape) to the field situation, rather than prescribing a standard programme. Ideally the applications should be applied just before the stress period in order to supplement amino acid and peptides as crop production slows. We know that peptides can aid recovery and therefore if growers have not applied before a stress event, applications should be made immediately after. Of course, none of us have a crystal ball so it is hard for growers to know when the crop is stressed and when to make the application. It’s a similar conundrum to low/high input fungicide or PGR programme – do you take the insurance route or minimise the investment – they don’t always payback, but sometimes they really payout.
Crop recommendations based on field evidence:
Isn’t it ironic that after one of the wettest autumns/winters on record, rainfall could now become the limiting factor, with spring cereals at risk of moisture and nitrogen stress.
Bridgeway or Zonda 1.0-2.0 L/ha from growth stage 14 can:
- Stimulate root and shoot growth
- Aid water and nutrient uptake
- Limit impact of abiotic stress
- Boost establishment
With some winter crops now feeling the effects of the dry conditions, an application of Bridgeway or Zonda could help to keep winter crops stress free in order to protect yield potential.
Bridgeway or Zonda 1.0-2.0 L/ha from growth stage 30 onwards can:
- Limit impact of abiotic stress (- a trigger for ramularia in barley)
- Reduce scorch from liquid nitrogen
- Increase water and nutrient uptake
- Reduce brackling in barley
- Protect yield potential in stress situations
- Add significant yield increases in high stress conditions
It is well known that there is a strong correlation between harnessing light energy and final yield in Sugar Beet. Early applications of Bridgeway or Zonda from two true leaves will increase chlorophyll production, critical for photosynthesis and sugar production.
Bridgeway or Zonda 2.0 L/ha from 2 true leaves can:
- Limit abiotic stress
- Improve access to water and nutrients
- Aid recovery from herbicide scorch
- Protect yield, increase sugars and add significant margin increases
- Not all amino acid based biostimulants are the same. Bridgeway/Zonda contain all 18 L-isomer amino acids needed by plants, as well as signalling peptides, that play a crucial role in root development, enhancement of nutrient uptake/assimilation, and contribute to stress resistance
- 100% plant sourced and produced to food grade quality
- Approved for use in organic crops. Vegan, vegetarian, GM free and suitable for all end markets
- Highest increases in root and shoot growth of all biostimulants tested when compared to Calibra Carbo, Terrasorb, AminoA Flo in Cereals and OSR. Source: root and shoot study conducted at Nottingham University in 2019 in Winter Wheat and Oilseed Rape
- From a supplier you can trust