A bio-fertilizer is a living microorganism that helps promote plant growth. Bio-fertilizers help plants by increasing the availability of key nutrients to the plant. Additionally, they provide growth hormones, known as phytohormones, to the plant.
While these are not all of the benefits, here are some specific benefits to farmers of using bio-fertilizers.
Of course, no two farms will get the same results, but in general this is a good list of the benefits of using bio-fertilizers.
Bio-fertilizers increase the amount of beneficial microorganisms in the soil, particularly in the root zone. In turn, these microorganisms release trapped nutrients, capture atmospheric nutrients, help balance soil pH, help trap moisture and produce plant growth hormones. The end result is an increase in plant root size, a healthier, more productive plant, and increase plant yield for the farmer.
Bio-fertilizers work in the root zone or rhizosphere. In the rhizosphere, these beneficial microorganisms help unlock existing soil and atmospheric nutrients and in some cases, solubilizing nutrients such as phosphorus. In other cases, they convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form of nitrogen that can be used by the plant (Azos). In all cases, bio-fertilizers use existing nutrients more efficiently thus reducing overall traditional fertilizer usage.
Using bio-fertilizers can reduce irrigation. This happens because the beneficial soil microbes reduce the compaction of the soil, creating micropores in the soil. This reduced compaction, increases the ability of the soil to retain moisture. An increased soil moisture content, reduces runoff and wasted water.
Beneficial microorganisms and soil nutrients are the keys to healthy soils. Each year beneficial microbes are lost to flood, freeze, fire and toxic chemicals. Replacing and maintaining the soil biota is an important function of bio-fertilizer usage.
The key to running a successful farm is profitability. Bio-fertilizers maximize crop production and reduce traditional fertilizer costs. This combination allows bio-fertilizer usage to produce an outstanding return on the investment dollar for the farmer.
Agricultural sustainability is key concept for modern farms. Bio-fertilizer usage reduces traditional fertilizer (N,P,K) usage and runoff. Controlling fertilizer runoff is a key in many sustainability plans. Additionally, bio-fertilizers can be used in organic farming. Check with your Organic certifier.
Bill Baugh is a product manager for Custom Biologicals, Inc. a manufacturer and distributor of innovative microbial products. You can visit their website at Living-Soils.com and he can be contacted at 561.797.3008 or Bill@Custombio.biz.