The next major crop technology will be fungi and bacteria that boost yields, says Kay McDonald of Big Picture Agriculture.
She says that Monsanto’s $300-million purchase of a Danish company, Novozymes, has so far “flown below the radar,” but heralds a big step into a new technology.
She predicts that the advances will come from mycorrhiza fungi and rhizobacteria.
Both are likely to be incorporated with seeds and both will work their magic at the interface between roots and soil.
The first mycorrhiza products will likely counter drought and improve absorption of phosphorous.
Rhizobacteria are already used to help plants develop their own source of nitrogen. The inoculants used for soybeans are a rhizobacterium.
“Novozymes says they already have a product that coats seeds with a fungus that grows along the plant’s roots and produces phosphates, promoting growth and saving chemical fertilizer,” writes McDonald.
She has written nothing about Alltech of Kentucky which is moving from its base in livestock and poultry feeds into crop supplements.
It makes its products by fermenting yeasts and says “without compromising profitability or sustainability, we have found ways to successfully increase plant health, quality, and yield.”