Welcome to Our Bugs in a Jug Webpage

… Your Portal to reliable Research- and Experience-based Information regarding Microbial-based Biofertilizers (MBBFs) and their Use in Commercial Vegetable Production

The team responsible for this page will offer resources to help commercial vegetable growers, especially sustainable-organic, make the best use of MBBFs. However, as a grower, MBBF manufacturer or supplier, grower advisor, researcher, educator, agricultural journalist, or organizational representative, you can help. The shared goal is to improve the reliability with which MBBFs are selected, used, and evaluated. Some approaches to meet this goal are listed below.

Join the MBBF listserv (http://u.osu.edu/vegprolab/microbial_inoculants_in_vegpro/) to start, contribute to, or learn from conversations with others interested in these important products.

Check out online MBBF databases (http://u.osu.edu/vegprolab/links/microbe-containing-bioproducts/) and submit feedback on their improvement. MBBF manufacturers, especially, are encouraged to provide links to reports describing the performance of their products.

2018 Call-in Conversations

Join us this spring for our 2018 call-in conversation series “Building capacity for best use of microbial-based biostimulants/biofertilizers in organic and sustainable vegetable production.”

Each call will separately address practical issues in the selection, use, and evaluation of these inputs and will include a panel of experts to frame the issues and answer your questions.

All calls are on Wednesdays, 1:00-2:30pm EST. See below for dates and details about each topic. Pre-registration is required to receive the call-in number to join each call. Click here to register. Have a question related to the topics? Feel free to submit questions with your registration or ask during the calls.

March 21, 2018: Selecting microbial-based biostimulants/biofertilizers using a farm-centered approach

The number of microbial-based biostimulant/biofertilizer products on the market can be overwhelming, especially since there is so little practical guidance available on how to select one. What is the best way to match the needs of your system with the claims and capabilities of available products? During the call we aimed to look at decision-making based on four areas of knowledge to equip growers to identify their best options: 1) the setting, size, and management of the farm, 2) factors that limit microbial viability and activity, 3) categories of microbes and their general modes of action, and 4) effects these products have on plants. To learn more and hear the conversation, visit the link below.

Panel: Jeff Anderson (Mycorrhizal Applications), Mike Austin (Agrinos), Alison Bennett (The Ohio State University), Tim Coolong (University of Georgia), Philippe Douillet (EcoMicrobials), David Holden (Holden Research and Consulting), John Kempf (Advancing Eco Agriculture)

April 18, 2018: Using microbial-based biostimulants/biofertilizers: tactics to maximize their potential benefits

Inoculating with microbial-based biostimulants/biofertilizers is very different than applying fertilizers, amendments, pesticides, and other inputs. Rather than inert substances, these products are full of microscopic organisms that need moisture, food, and habitat to function, grow, and reproduce. Within the soil and on or near plant roots, they play different roles within the food web, many of which can directly or indirectly benefit the crops we grow by helping them optimize necessary resources. What is needed to successfully introduce microbial biostimulants/biofertilizers to your cropping system no matter the application method? Environmental conditions, equipment, food sources, and compatibility with other inputs will be addressed. Opportunity for on-farm participatory research using these products will be presented.

Panel: Ute Albrecht (University of Florida), Mike Austin (Agrinos), John Kempf (Advancing Eco Agriculture), Jozsef Racsko (Mycorrhizal Applications)

May 16, 2018: Evaluating the value of microbial-based biostimulants/biofertilizers on your farm

Microbial-based biostimulants/biofertilizers are applied with the goal of improving crop production and quality. As an added input, they cost money and time to select and use. How can you measure the value of their contribution to your farming system and economic bottom line? With the help of an agricultural economist, and experts in plant-soil interactions and crop physiology, this call-in conversation will cover how observation, record-keeping, and simple comparisons can be used to evaluate their short and long-term value based on your goals.

Panel: Subbu Kumarappan (The Ohio State University, Agricultural Technical Institute), Bonnie Ownley (The University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture), Andy Radin (The University of Rhode Island)

2018 On-Farm Experiments

Are you interested in becoming an on-farm collaborator and working with microbial biostimulants/biofertilizers? For more details and to learn how, click here.

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Organic Transitions Program under award Number 2016-51106-25714 and also under award number 2016-38640-25381 through the North Central Region SARE program under subaward number LNC16-380. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Project team members Kleinhenz, Taylor, and Wang also contribute to the Microbial-based Solutions for Agriculture (MBSA) Team within the OSU Center for Applied Plant Sciences.


Our Conference Abstracts

Our Journal Articles

Big Claims, Big Questions, and Big Potential in Small Packages: Tips for Using Microbe-Containing Crop Biostimulants

What is in Your Microbial-based Crop Fertilizer

Getting the Most From Microbe-containing Crop Biostimulants

Microbial-based Biostimulants: Big Potential in Small Packages

Microbial Biostimulants in Grower Toolboxes

Online Tools

2017 Call-in Conversations

Microbe-containing Bioproducts Database

Microbial-based Biofertilizers in Vegetable Production ListServ

Other Websites

Organic Farming Research Network

Matthew_Keinhenz Christopher_Taylor Subbu_Kumarappan Bonnie_Ownley
Matthew Kleinhenz
Vegetable Extension Specialist
The Ohio State University
Christopher Taylor
Plant Pathology
The Ohio State University
Subramanian Kumarappan
The Ohio State University
Bonnie Ownley
Plant Pathology
University of Tennessee
Stephanie_Short Carol_Goland
Nicole Wright
Program Coordinator
The Ohio State University
(330)202-3555 ext. 2717
Stephanie Short
Program Assistant
The Ohio State University
(330)202-3555 ext. 2687
Carol Goland
Executive Director
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
(614)421-2022 ext. 202