CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — You may have early planted soybeans or may just want to bolster their vitality and your profitability. That’s the focus on research on biologicals, underway this year by Dr. Connor Sible at the University of Illinois

“So biologicals, we’re looking at two big groups, first one that many farmers are familiar with is inoculants,” Sible said. “Soybeans need those nitrogen-fixing microbes to provide that nitrogen, so if we inoculate the soybeans, can we get those off to a faster start, especially on those early planted beans when those native microbes might not be awake yet. We’re also looking at alternative inoculants, things like arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi, often times referred to as AMF, to help build the root system into the soil to better find that nutrients that may not be moving as fast in early planted soybeans. so that’s the living microbes. And then climate. We are all dealing with different climate, whether its too wet or too dry, so there are vitamins or biostimulants, designed to help soybeans tolerate drought stress, helps regulate drought and water use. So we’re looking at in-season foliar for water use efficiency in soybeans.”

Stu: Are these pricey, or reasonable as you think about the yield?

“Cost is always going to change from product to product. But ball park we’re probably from $10 to $20 per acre per product,” Sible said. “And most of these are already apply with a practice you are already doing. Foliars can go with your post-emergent herbicides, so you can maybe not consider the extra application cost. Or with seed treatments going out with the planter. But $10 to $20 per acre for most of these specialty products.”

As about that research at the crop physiology field day on August 4. Mark your calendar. That’s our report from the farm, I’m Stu Ellis with WCIA-3, your local news leader.