Iowa farmer adding biologicals to crop input strategy

Biological crop inputs are becoming more mainstream among farmers.

Josh Nelson is part of a diversified row crop and livestock operation in north central Iowa and says he’s looking to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers.

“I’m using Pivot Bio 40 this year as a seed treatment, and this fall I’m also planning on using a product that will handle the crop residue that’s left over.”

The Belmond area farmer tells Brownfield that product uses microbials to break down the residue and recycle nutrients that will benefit next year’s soybean crop.

Nelson suggests biologicals represent a bridge to better soil health and a way to phase out inputs over time.

“I think it’s a nice way to introduce farmers that aren’t used to the idea of farming with microbial biology and the microorganisms in the soil and using those as part of your fertility program instead of calling up the elevator and saying ‘soil test this and tell me what I need.”

Ryan Ridder with Corteva Agriscience tells Brownfield he doesn’t see biologicals as a replacement for synthetic fertilizers, but says they work well in tandem to provide farmers flexibility and fit well with sustainable practices.

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