Row-crop farmers are aware of agricultural ‘biologicals’

17-04-2023 | |
Use of clover for nitrogen fixation. - Photo: Koos Groenewold
Use of clover for nitrogen fixation. - Photo: Koos Groenewold

Most U.S. row-crop farmers say they are aware of agricultural ‘biologicals’. Early adopters actively using the natural inputs on their crops rated them positively, according to topline results of a benchmark study released by Stratovation Group.

The Fertilizer Institute, the Agricultural Retailers Association and DCLRS, a bipartisan government relations firm, were strategic partners with Stratovation Group in the research project to assess the use of these relatively new, natural crop inputs among traditional row-crop growers.

Topline results include the finding that 83 percent of farmers in the U.S. are aware of the term agricultural ‘biologicals’, while fewer, 75 percent, were familiar with a similar term, agricultural ‘microbials’.

Sustainable inputs

“We repeatedly heard that farmers using agricultural biologicals viewed them as sustainable inputs to boost profitability and increase yields”, said Cam Camfield, CEO at Stratovation. “We will track all these benchmarks going forward, but if you look at all the market indicators beyond our study, this class of crop inputs is on a steep trajectory upward. But we also learned there is a ton of additional education needed to help this market reach its potential, and biological companies should consider sharing performance results with influential farmers and their advisors.”

More than a third of the farmers, those reporting they were currently active users of biologicals on their crops, rated them positively, giving them a score of 7.14 out of 10. One of the reasons cited by the farmer respondents was the use of biologicals increased nitrogen efficiency or decreased fertilizer expenses.

Real benefits

“We have a positive adoption curve, and farmers are reporting real benefits from the use of biologicals,” said Corey Rosenbusch, President and CEO at The Fertilizer Institute. “But we also hear farmers say they want additional proof of their efficacy. We are launching the TFI ‘Certified Biostimulant’ Program in June that will help provide those answers.”

The project was conducted in two phases, a qualitative study that included 40 hour-long, in-depth farmer interviews, followed by a quantitative survey of 500 full-time, professional row-crop producers.

Usage and practice of biologicals

The study included a deep dive into several related topics, including farmer demographics, the make-up of the farm’s team and capabilities, selected on-farm practices, preferred retail channel and trusted partners. The research also dug into the awareness, perception, and definition of key terms, biological purchase history, usage, practices, and future intent, as well as recognition of leading biological companies and brands.

For more information or to purchase a copy of the full report, contact Camfield at cam@stratovationgroup.com.

Ed Asscheman Online editor Future Farming
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