The biologicals marketplace can be confusing and complex, even for the most seasoned grower or agronomist. With hundreds of manufacturers, thousands of products, and countless promises of improved performance, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
This category includes products ranging from biostimulants to soil amendments to foliar fertilizers. Through a lack of clear definition, the biologicals sector has started to become a “junk drawer” of ag inputs, collecting the products that don’t quite fit anywhere else.
And yet, this category continues to grow in importance and popularity because it offers the next step forward in effective production practices.
Agronomically speaking, the majority of growers are doing the big things right. They are great stewards of their land, implementing effective herbicide and fertilizer programs and selecting proper hybrids and varieties for their farms. The next frontier of productivity will come through incremental agronomic improvements. Simply put, this means getting the details right.
Growers will need to explore and adopt new practices and products to get their plants and soils to work harder for them and to reach the next level of output. They will need to maximize the physiology of the crop to help it reach its true genetic potential. That’s where Plant Advantage™ comes in.
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HELM's suite of Plant Advantage products are designed to have direct physiological relationships with each plant in a field or tree in an orchard. These products help activate genes within plants, optimize critical pathways, and support the vitality of the surrounding soil microbiome to help each plant reach its genetic potential.
HELM partners with Alltech Crop Science and Unium Bioscience, innovative biologicals manufacturers and researchers, to deliver the most comprehensive biologicals portfolio in the industry. These partnerships complement HELM’s existing lineup of traditional chemistries. Plant Advantage products are backed by decades of cutting-edge research, in-field testing, and use in agricultural production.
Bridging the gap
It’s no secret that the ag industry is losing some of its preferred chemical tools. Whether due to increased regulation, consumer preference for lower residue levels, or simply due to resistance – we are losing tools faster than new synthetic chemistries are coming to market.
Through a whole-crop system approach to agronomic management, Plant Advantage products can help to bridge this gap between traditional synthetic chemistries and the new wave of biological crop inputs. As a supplier of traditional and biological inputs, HELM is uniquely positioned to help support and advise through this next phase of transition in modern production agriculture.
HELM’s portfolio, simplified
Some of the biggest challenges with any biological product are knowing what it is, what it does, and when to apply it. That is why HELM developed three main product categories: Soil Health, Crop Development and Crop Defense.
These categories assist retailers and growers with proper, precise placement to address challenges at specific growth stages. The HELM team works hard to ensure the maximum efficiancy of Plant Advantage products by putting the right product on the right acre at the right time.
Timing is everything
With biological products, timing is not tied to the calendar so much as it is to growth stages of the plant. To deliver the maximum physiological benefit, products must be precisely timed to the plant process upon which they have an effect. The five main growth stages for precise product application are illustrated in the image below.
Precise production leads to consistent output
Microbials are a leading category in the biological space. The aim for most microbe-based products is for the microbes to enter the soil or plant and produce metabolites, which are an output of microbial functions and an input for the plant. Many biological products are formulated using live microbes. This can lead to inconsistent results in the field because field environments are inherently variable and unpredictable.
HELM has taken a different approach. We manufacture our products by having microbes do their work in a controlled fermentation environment and then harvesting the metabolites that they produce. HELM then uses those metabolites as the consistent, reliable foundation for several of their biological products. That way, growers can be confident in what they are applying on their fields and in what quantities. By delivering metabolites rather than microbes, HELM’s metabolite-based products are identical in formulation and quality, time after time.
Metabolites fit the way you farm. They don’t need special handling or mixing, and they can go in the tank with most all commercially available herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers.
As the biologicals space continues to evolve and grow, growers and retailers must evolve with it. This begins with education and staying informed on new technologies and research in the field.
To learn more about HELM’s Plant Advantage portfolio and how it could work for you, reach out to your local HELM representative or agronomist. You can also take one or more of HELM’s online learning modules, which cover Plant Advantage topics such as Soil Health, Crop Development, and Crop Defense.
Visit helmplantadvantage.com to learn more about individual Plant Advantage products and use cases to help identify which will work best for you.