Reduce Fertilizer

While it may seem counterintuitive to reduce fertilizer usage to increase yields, a significant reduction of fertilizer is necessary to obtain the highest yield increases when using products containing the technology of SumaGrow®.

The microorganisms in co-branded products containing SumaGrow® contain beneficial microorganisms specifically selected because they work within the soil and the root of the plant to capture existing and applied nutrients, unlock bound soil nutrients and convert nitrogen from the air into a form plants can utilize. Because of the microorganisms’ ability to efficiently utilize their resources, a reduction in applied nutrients is critical.

For example, let’s say that 300 pounds per acre of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) were the normal application rate for a crop. If an additional 300 pounds per acre were added, the yield would likely decrease and the crop might be severely damaged. Because products containing SumaGrow® improve the efficiency of the applied nutrients, your crop only needs half (on average) or, in this example, 150 pounds per acre of applied nutrients. Using 300 pounds of NPK (the full treatment) could actually reduce the crop yield.

There are several controlled studies which have been performed which show the negative effects of full fertilizer and the addition of SumaGrow® products.

Mississippi State University

  Plant Height (inches) Chlorophyll Content Total Yield(s)
Treatment HG Only SumaGrow® + 50% NPK SumaGrow® Only HG Only SumaGrow® + 50% NPK SumaGrow® Only HG Only SumaGrow® + 50% NPK HG Only
Corn 56.3 90* 96.25* 33.8 40.3 47.4 119 384.9* 653*
Soybean 40 38 42 40 42 47 44.4 71.2* 71*
Garden Bean 54.5 83.3* 104 39.6 46.13 192.8 299* 504.5*
Tomato 31.2 31.5 42 34 42 47 140 400* 720*
Clover 18 23.2 23.7 37.3 43.1 46.7 107 133* 159*

Mississippi State University conducted controlled field trials on cilantro and tomatoes in Crystal Springs, MS. The table below shows the response of cilantro shoot yields comparing 50 percent conventional and 100 percent conventional fertilizer rates (growers standard), with the addition to both of a SumaGrow® product application at the rate equivalent to one gallon per acre.

The addition of SumaGrow® to the full fertilizer treatment showed an increase of only 7.5 percent (2.58 vs. 2.40) while the addition of SumaGrow® to the half fertilizer treatment (50 percent reduction) showed an increase in yield of 19.2 percent (2.98 vs. 2.50); as fertilizer was reduced the yield went up.

Cilantro

Treatment Fertilizer SumaGrow® Product Total Weight
1 50% Reduction No 2.50
2 50% Reduction Yes 2.98
3 100% Fertilizer No 2.50
4 100% Fertilizer Yes 2.58

Tomatoes

Treatment Fertilizer Rate SumaGrow® Product Total No. Total Weight
1 50% Reduction No 147.0 72.1
2 50% Reduction Yes 158.5 83.0
3 100% Fertilizer No 156.0 72.7
4 100% Fertilizer Yes 150.3 71.3

In tomatoes, the results were even more striking, as the tomato yield with 100 percent fertilizer and SumaGrow® product was actually lower than the yield with just 100 percent fertilizer. The table above shows the total number and weight of tomatoes comparing 50 percent conventional and 100 percent conventional nitrogen fertilizer rates, with the addition to both of a product containing SumaGrow at the equivalent rate of one gallon per acre.

The addition of SumaGrow® product to the full fertilizer treatment showed a decrease of 1.9 percent (72.7 vs. 71.3) in weight while the addition of a SumaGrow® product to the reduced fertilizer treatment showed an increase in yield of 15.1 percent (83.0 vs. 72.1); as fertilizer was reduced the yield increased.

Tecomate

Barenbrug’s U.S. subsidiary, Tecomate performed tests for hunters’ food plots to determine whether SumaGrow® increased the protein levels of forages. Higher protein levels are a contributing factor for larger antlers in deer.

Two different hunter food plot seed mixtures- Tecomate Monster Mix and Tecomate Max-Attract 50/50- were tested to determine both the protein percentage and yield. According to data points – 300 pounds per acre of triple 13 NPK fertilizer (a typical full fertilizer treatment) versus 300 pounds and the addition of one gallon per acre of a SumaGrow® product showed the yield actually decreasing, although, protein levels still went up with the addition of a SumaGrow® product.

When the traditional fertilizer treatment was reduced (200 lbs, 100lbs and zero) and a SumaGrow® product was added at the rate of one gallon per acre, yields increased. Protein levels continued to increase as the fertilizer was reduced. For the Monster Mix, the highest yield was obtained with a 33 percent reduction in fertilizer, or 200 pounds of triple 13 NPK per acre with the addition of a SumaGrow® product, and for the Max Attract 50/50, the highest yield was obtained with a 67 percent reduction in fertilizer, or 100 pounds of triple 13 NPK per acre and the addition of a SumaGrow® product.

Tecomate Monster Mix

Plot Number Fertilizer Rate per Acre (lbs.) SumaGrow® Rate per Acre (gallons) Yield in Voluve (lbs.) Protein Result (%)
1 300 0 8.75 0.001
2 300 1 8.50 0.42
3 200 1 9.75 0.50
4 100 1 8.50 0.87
5 0 1 8.25 2.33

Tecomate Max-Attract 50/50

Plot Number Fertilizer Rate per Acre (lbs) SumaGrow® Rate per Acre (gallons) Yield in Volume (lbs) Protein Result (%)
1 300 0 8.75 3.95
2 300 1 7.00 4.09
3 200 1 8.50 4.36
4 100 1 9.25 4.56
5 0 1 8.75 4.44

There are other crops where fertilizer can be reduced even more than 50 percent. In many grass/turf applications – forage grass, grass hay and ornamental turf (including specialty applications such as golf courses) – fertilizer rates have been reduced 80-100 percent for tens of thousands of applications, often with better results than 100 percent fertilizer. Additionally, organic growers use products containing SumaGrow® as well as end users in many foreign countries without the addition of any petrochemical fertilizer. Notably, this includes China and India where testing has been performed without fertilizer and achieved significantly positive results.