Larger, Better, and More Stress-tolerant Crops with Microbial Biostimulants?

An increasing number of growers use an ever-larger number of microbe-containing biostimulants to jump-start crops and/or to increase their yield or quality. Also, some claim that using these products makes all that possible with lower inputs, including fertilizer. We ( are coordinating a  USDA NIFA-, SARE-, and industry-sponsored effort to help vegetable growers select, use, and evaluate the effectiveness of these biostimulants more reliably. One experiment underway at the OARDC in Wooster includes multiple commercial inoculants applied to leafy vegetables and carrot grown in high tunnels. A second set of experiments this summer will include inoculants applied to field-grown fresh market tomato and butternut squash. A third set of experiments will be completed on farms in Ohio and five other states. Use and later issues of VegNet to learn more about this work. Images below are from the carrot study seeded in late March in which root and shoot characteristics are being monitored. Plots will be harvested soon. For more information, please contact Matt and Zheng