A PRODUCT which could reduce rates of applied nitrogen put on crops by up to 40 per cent is being trialled in the Esperance region.
Kreotec is a product which aims to improve the delivery of nitrogen to the crop through enhanced nutrient use efficiency and nitrogen fixation, allowing growers to reduce levels of applied inorganic nitrogen.
The product comes from Thinkbio, a company specialising in research, development and commercialisation of biological inoculants for agriculture, and is being tested in a trial by Elders agronomist James Bidstrup near Cascade.
Mr Bidstrup said as part of the small plot trial, he put out a number of five metre strips with different treatment, including a double strip of Kreotec and a couple of ranges of nitrogen treatments.
“Kreotec is a wettable powder formulation applied as a foliar spray at 200g/ha,” Mr Bidstrup said.
“I’m comparing that against an extra application of liquid nitrogen and seeing whether either has a significant impact on yield and which one you get a better return on investment with.
“It also requires an above average water rate, between 80 and 250 litres per hectare, which is probably higher than most farmers would use.”
The product’s proprietary formulation allows the selected strains of bacteria to be foliar applied to directly inoculate the crop.
Once inoculated, the bacteria colonise the plant and are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen and increase the production of the nitrate reductase enzyme, both mechanisms leading to elevated levels of nitrogen available to the plant.
The improved nitrogen use efficiency has the dual benefit of increasing crop productivity while reducing the amount of nitrogen lost into the environment.
Mr Bidstrup said he chose to run the trials as he wanted to have confidence that it was a product that would work under WA conditions.
“It’s a small plot trial, so it is unlikely to be harvested, but it will definitely have biomass cuts taken to compare results,” he said
“There will possibly also be some plant tests to compare the nil treatment versus the Kreotec and see within the plant which is able to use the nitrogen better.
“This product has the potential to cause an increase in both biomass and yield.”
The product is bioactive, meaning it’s critical that non-chlorinated water is used, otherwise some of the microbes may be sterilised by the water.
It is also compatible with UAN and Flexi-N, plus is well matched with a number of herbicides.