October 19, 2021

Microbes work to provide nitrogen to corn plants

DECATUR, Ill. — Farmers can replace some of the synthetic nitrogen they apply for their corn crop with PROVEN 40.

“PROVEN 40 has living microbes and it is applied in furrow at planting,” said Mark Killam, Pivot Bio regional sales leader for Illinois and Missouri.

“The microbes are mini factories and they work in symbiotic relationship with the corn plant to embed themselves in the root epidermis and the corn plant feeds them through the secretions of the corn plant,” said Killam at the Pivot Bio booth during the Farm Progress Show in Decatur.

Pivot Bio launched PROVEN 40 in July.

“This product provides 40 pounds of nitrogen guaranteed to the corn crop and gives more pounds of nitrogen compared to our first-generation product,” Killam said. “We want PROVEN 40 to be the first 40 pounds they put on their farm and beyond that they can build the rest of their nitrogen plan with other synthetic forms.”

PROVEN 40 is applied in the seed trench as a liquid.

“It must be applied in furrow because the microbes are immobile,” Killam said. “So, if we put it at the seed, then the microbes will be able to adhere to the roots.”

At corn emergence, Killam said, the microbes embed themselves in the root epidermis.

“That’s when they start to colonize or increase in numbers to convert atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia form,” he said. “Growers get a big benefit because they do not have to worry about leaching or volatilization when they use our product — it is predictable, productive and weatherproof.”

This gives growers peace of mind, Killam said.

“When they use PROVEN 40, they get what they pay for because they don’t have to worry about leaching from excessive rains,” he said. “It’s a win-win for the growers because they can be a big player to lower the overall carbon footprint and we can directly impact their ROI and give them a product that works.”

Planters need to be equipped with liquid in-furrow components.

“We have the NLIGHTEN program,” Killam said. “It helps pay for the equipment cost through multi-year agreements which helps out with grower adoption of our product.”

PROVEN 40 is available to purchase now for the 2022 growing season.

“We are flat year over year for our price,” Killam said. “There’s no other nitrogen provider that I’m aware of that can make that claim.”

Pivot Bio plans to continue developing products for farmers.

“We’re not done. We will continue to advance to get to the overall goal of replacing 100% of the synthetic nitrogen,” Killam said. “We want growers to reevaluate their nitrogen plans and use a better source of nitrogen for raising corn, sorghum or wheat.”

Martha Blum

Martha Blum

Field Editor