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Company looks to enhance yields

A display from NewLeaf Symbiotics and its Terrasym product at the Farm Progress Show / CIFN photo.

An ag technology company is looking to enhance crop yields through a product focusing on a unique class of microbes.

These are literally the pink microbes that have grown up with algae. They are unique since they grow from a waste product of cell growth and division, methanol.

“That’s why we focus solely on this class,” explains Matt Helms, chief commercial officer for NewLeaf Symbiotics. “We’ve been working the last eight years as a startup to bring this technology to the marketplace.”

This type of microbe is a PPFM, which is applied and helps with root elongation and root mass.

“We’ve taken 2,367 photos the last two years from large commercial scales with our product versus an untreated check,” noted Helms.

They have observed between a six and 12 percent increased root area along with enhanced nutrient uptake. Soybeans had about a two-bushel yield benefit while corn benefited by 4.5 bushels. The product previously had to be put on as a seed treatment or in-furrow with corn. They have tested a planter box application method through a third party.

In 2022, a co-pack of 80/20 talc graphite will be sold with the Terrasym pink microbes which can be applied in commonly used increments. The product is in its second year of commercial release and is being sold through traditional distribution outlets and dealer networks. It will also be sold directly online.

A certain microbe in the PPFM category is mitigating corn rootworm, which has become an issue again in some locations.

“We’ve submitted that to the USEPA and we are hoping to get a soft launch in 2023,” added Helms.

This has resulted in a 16-bushel yield benefit when there is no corn rootworm trait and about six bushels when there is a corn rootworm trait.

“The corn rootworm pressure seems to be coming back a little more as we are having challenges with resistance,” Helms admitted.

Helms and his team members are excited to bring this new technology to the marketplace in the next couple of years. He considers this an exciting time which is a turning point for biologicals.

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