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Monsanto, Novozymes Product Increases Crop Yields Using Microbes

cornMonsanto’s partnership with biochemical firm Novozymes has produced a corn inoculant product that can increase farmers’ yields, the companies say.

The companies say they will launch the new product in the US in 2017.

The partnership, called the BioAg Alliance, formed in 2013 and aims to improve crop harvests through naturally occurring microbes such as bacteria and fungi.

The companies say the BioAg Alliance’s 2015 field trial program results include a product that increased corn yields by an average of 4 bushels per acre in US field tests. The product is based on a fungus found in soil. Researchers from the two companies say they have found a way to coat the microbes on corn seeds without harming the microbes’ performance or longevity.

The BioAg Alliance markets two types of microbial products: inoculant products, which help plants with nutrient uptake, and biocontrol products, which help protect plants against pests and diseases. The products can be applied to seeds before planting, applied to growing crops or applied to soil in-furrow.

The companies say that they can be used by farmers that grow broad acre crops such as corn and soy, and on fruits and vegetables. Microbial products can increase crop yields and can complement or replace agricultural chemicals and fertilizers.

In 2015, the BioAg Alliance tested more than 2,000 microbial strains across 500,000 field trial plots in more than 50 locations in the US.

The BioAg Alliance’s products are currently used on around 65 million acres; Monsanto and Novozymes project that their products will be used on 250-500 million acres globally by 2025.

The agricultural market for microbials is estimated at $1.8 billion, while the market for traditional fertilizers and pesticides totals $240 billion.

 

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