Nitrogen fixing bacteria.

Simon Chiles

DD Moderator
With the recent escalation of Nitrogen prices it has occurred to me that growers are going to consider alternative sources of N. Having been involved with some initial work on N fixing bacteria I thought it might be useful to have a thread on here so that farmers can ask questions about some of the trial work that has been so that they can make some informed decisions. Having discussed this with @Chris F we have invited Natallia from Plantworks to join the forum and participate in the discussion. If you have any questions you’d like to ask please post them here and hopefully she’ll be able to answer them.
 

Two Tone

Member
Mixed Farmer
I have twice tried products that are supposedly Nitrogen Fertiliser replacements.
The 1st was a product by Glenside called Eco N that was partially successful but didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reasons as to why it was or wasn’t.
The 2nd was a product called Twin-N that was absolutely useless.

Neither will work at all if no Nitrogen is applied at all so cannot be used to completely replace it. But the Twin-N had absolutely no effect whatsoever.

I do use a product called Marriphyte , which is a Seaweed and Phosphite product and on this farm.
I’m convinced that RB209 level on Nitrogen are far too high and actually reduce my yields by going over the Nitrogen response curve.
What seems even more ridiculous is that according the RB209, I should not be getting the yields that I do from the amount of Nitrogen fertiliser I actually use.
I put a lot of this down to the Marriphyte which Glenside show in their trials allow crops to achieve yields far higher than would be expected, without the requirement to use RB209 Nitrogen rates.

This also involves far more detailed “Albrecht” soil testing than is usually done on most farms. The difference being not just showing what nutrients are available, but what is locked up, that could be made available.
 

richard hammond

Member
BASIS
I have twice tried products that are supposedly Nitrogen Fertiliser replacements.
The 1st was a product by Glenside called Eco N that was partially successful but didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reasons as to why it was or wasn’t.
The 2nd was a product called Twin-N that was absolutely useless.

Neither will work at all if no Nitrogen is applied at all so cannot be used to completely replace it. But the Twin-N had absolutely no effect whatsoever.

I do use a product called Marriphyte , which is a Seaweed and Phosphite product and on this farm.
I’m convinced that RB209 level on Nitrogen are far too high and actually reduce my yields by going over the Nitrogen response curve.
What seems even more ridiculous is that according the RB209, I should not be getting the yields that I do from the amount of Nitrogen fertiliser I actually use.
I put a lot of this down to the Marriphyte which Glenside show in their trials allow crops to achieve yields far higher than would be expected, without the requirement to use RB209 Nitrogen rates.

This also involves far more detailed “Albrecht” soil testing than is usually done on most farms. The difference being not just showing what nutrients are available, but what is locked up, that could be made available.
I tried Twin N absolutely useless and a con!!
 

Simon Chiles

DD Moderator
I tried Twin N absolutely useless and a con!!

Plantworks have done numerous trials, enough to even satisfy @Feldspar, and one of the things they have discovered was that by just applying a large number of different N fixing bacteria yields actually depleted. They have now tailored the bacteria to specific crops so that you only get the ones you need for that crop. Whilst I’m not expecting them to share commercially sensitive data I’m hoping that some of the information they can provide will help us make informed decisions on different products and avoid situations like yours. I’m not saying Twin N is a con, I used it on grass many years ago and thought I’d got a response. However it wasn’t any sort of a trial, just an impression I got comparing it to other grass yields that year.
 

fudge

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire.
Imsure it's not a coincidence that of all the GM traits added to crops N fixing hadn't been one, if you can put a gene from a non plant species into a plant surely it wouldnt be that difficult to transfer the gene from legumes into cereals and grass
The problem with that approach is that the fixing process uses energy from the plant therefore yield is inherently lower than systems where n is fixed in a fertilizer plant.
 

PSQ

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Scottish Borders
This has been on my mind for a while.

Presumably any bacteria will need a suitable environment to live and reproduce in. What sort of conditions do they thrive in (pH, texture, food / nutrition source etc) and what conditions / soils stop them dead in their tracks (water logging, ground frost, high/low pH) ?

What are the limitations of applying them uniformly to soil, especially when soils are being sprayed with fungicides, and for example acidic sulphur containing fertilisers?
 
Location
Kent
Firstly thank you for inviting me to this group to discuss N fixing bacteria.

Maybe to offer a little context. PlantWorks is a science-based producer of biofertilisers with research covering some twenty years in functional microbes in the UK. In 2014 we commenced our research programmes for UK farming, results from which I am pleased to share with this group.

A very classic example of the use of N fixing bacteria is usually quoted from Brazil, where annually over 100 million doses are applied, 10% of which on wheat where between 13-18% greater root mass is observed and an average grain yield increase of 8%.

Bacteria like warm conditions with good food sources (from plant exudates) to replicate and function. Although we are getting hotter, European soils and environments are not like those of Brazil; with that said, we are finding increasing function of the application of tuned bacteria called ‘Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) for different crops in the UK. I will offer in this thread some results and discussion that I would be pleased to answer questions on, or indeed, to answer any other questions this group have more generally.
 
Imsure it's not a coincidence that of all the GM traits added to crops N fixing hadn't been one, if you can put a gene from a non plant species into a plant surely it wouldnt be that difficult to transfer the gene from legumes into cereals and grass


Perhaps. But the plant needs to "Understand" how to control the bacteria to produce Nitrogen. That involves the plant withdrawing sugars to stimulate Nitrogen production.
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
Firstly thank you for inviting me to this group to discuss N fixing bacteria.

Maybe to offer a little context. PlantWorks is a science-based producer of biofertilisers with research covering some twenty years in functional microbes in the UK. In 2014 we commenced our research programmes for UK farming, results from which I am pleased to share with this group.

A very classic example of the use of N fixing bacteria is usually quoted from Brazil, where annually over 100 million doses are applied, 10% of which on wheat where between 13-18% greater root mass is observed and an average grain yield increase of 8%.

Bacteria like warm conditions with good food sources (from plant exudates) to replicate and function. Although we are getting hotter, European soils and environments are not like those of Brazil; with that said, we are finding increasing function of the application of tuned bacteria called ‘Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) for different crops in the UK. I will offer in this thread some results and discussion that I would be pleased to answer questions on, or indeed, to answer any other questions this group have more generally.

as a manufacturer would you ever consider warranty on your product ? ie if i treat half my area with n fixing product a dont. see MOIC vs untreated would you cover my loss ?

sounds a big ask but a warranty on a product is not uncommon outside ag inputs?
 

richard hammond

Member
BASIS
Firstly thank you for inviting me to this group to discuss N fixing bacteria.

Maybe to offer a little context. PlantWorks is a science-based producer of biofertilisers with research covering some twenty years in functional microbes in the UK. In 2014 we commenced our research programmes for UK farming, results from which I am pleased to share with this group.

A very classic example of the use of N fixing bacteria is usually quoted from Brazil, where annually over 100 million doses are applied, 10% of which on wheat where between 13-18% greater root mass is observed and an average grain yield increase of 8%.

Bacteria like warm conditions with good food sources (from plant exudates) to replicate and function. Although we are getting hotter, European soils and environments are not like those of Brazil; with that said, we are finding increasing function of the application of tuned bacteria called ‘Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) for different crops in the UK. I will offer in this thread some results and discussion that I would be pleased to answer questions on, or indeed, to answer any other questions this group have more generally.
Hi, have you got replicated field scale trials showing that the theory goes through to harvest in practice showing increases in yield, there fore leaving a greater return to the user.
 

alomy75

Member
as a manufacturer would you ever consider warranty on your product ? ie if i treat half my area with n fixing product a dont. see MOIC vs untreated would you cover my loss ?

sounds a big ask but a warranty on a product is not uncommon outside ag inputs?
I’m struggling to see how any manufacturer of a crop input could justify that. As for a pesticide we ‘might’ get backup if it causes detrimental effects on the crop if all other variables get ruled out. You wouldn’t ask for a guarantee on blackgrass chemistry or fungicide(?). Also how would you police it? A replicated small plot harvested trial in every soil type of every field at a cost of 1-2000 each? Who pays for that? It’s a nice idea though 👍
 

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