This unique combination of microbes includes five isolates of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) and five races – or strains – of plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR). It has been developed to improve soil health and crop production and can bring long term benefits to grass, cereal and maize crops.
“The benefits of this soil conditioning product are two-fold,” says Limagrain grass seed manager Ian Misselbrook. “It works as a biostimulant and in our replicated trials has been shown to increase yields of ryegrass swards by 36% consistently in cuts throughout the season. It establishes a symbiotic relationship with the host plant which promotes root development and improves soil condition and structure, which brings long term benefits to the soil and to existing and following crops.”
The mycorrhizal fungi increase the plant’s root system, leading to dramatic improvements in absorption area by 100 to 1000 times and therefore boosting its uptake of nutrients. A sticky glycoprotein produced by the mycorrhizae encourages soil aggregation and accounts for 27% of the carbon in the soil.
The rhizobacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen and also have bio-stimulant properties that improve root development and will enhance the action of the package of mycorrhizal fungi.
“UK developer, PlantWorks, has shown that the combined action of the mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobacteria contained in Smart Rotation SR2 outperforms the performance of a control with no inoculant and of just applying one of the two groups of microbes,” adds Mr Misselbrook.
SR2 works on a compatible host plant and can be used with grass seed mixtures and non-brassica cover crops.
“Growers can mix SR2 with the seed at drilling or work it into the seedbed prior to sowing and the benefits can last for the life of the crop.
“We can see it will be especially beneficial in reseeds or new grass leys that are following cereals and where the nutrient content and soil structure has deteriorated. And in the case of grass swards, it takes productivity to a new level. Longer term the advantages are far-reaching. We know many of our soils are at risk of being unprofitable due to soil erosion and the loss of carbon. This soil conditioning package can help to regain its value.”
Smart Rotation costs around £38/ha. Based on an increase in yield of 36%, this produced around 2 tonnes of dry matter per hectare worth at least £200. “In just one year, our trials have shown that SR2 can be justified on productivity gains alone but the longer term benefits in terms of improving the organic content of the soil for future crops and future generations of farmers makes Smart Rotations SR2 a very worthwhile investment.”