Crop Protection

Utrisha N: The new biostimulant boosting broadacre yield potential

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08 April 2024, AU: Utrisha® N is a unique biostimulant from Corteva Agriscience that will be available from May 2024.  Extensive trials conducted across Australia show it can boost yields in a wide range of crops including wheat and canola by providing a season-long source of supplemental nitrogen with just one application.

Utrisha® N is a naturally occurring bacteria, Methylobacterium symbioticum, that lives within the plant and converts atmospheric nitrogen to plant available ammonium.  Plants are colonised by Utrisha N through a foliar application and this can occur in as little as three days depending on temperature and species.  This conversion process uses no plant energy and one application lasts for a full growing season.

Corteva Agriscience Plant Health Manager, Dan Cornally, said Utrisha® N is the result of years of research and development.

“Utrisha® N has been brought to market backed by Corteva’s rigorous development standards and numerous field trials locally and around the world in order to demonstrate its effectiveness in a wide variety of crops,” Mr Cornally said.

“It is now available in Australia and will be the first offering in our new range of plant health products which provide innovative solutions for growers”.

Mr Cornally said that the early application of Utrisha® N and the provision of supplemental nitrogen in an annual crops life cycle allowed growers to hedge against unseasonal conditions.

“If growers get Utrisha® N out early, they know they have at least partially applied the topdressing nitrogen requirement,” Mr Cornally said.  If the growing season gets too wet or dry, or fertiliser availability is compromised, Utrisha® N will be in the crop and providing some level of nitrogen.

IMAGE 1: Dose response curve for Urea alone and Urea plus Utrisha® N showing statistically significant yield benefits in wheat. (Cummins, SA)
IMAGE 2: Dose response curve for Urea alone and Urea plus Utrisha® N showing statistically significant yield benefits in canola. (Cummins, SA)

Trial data and economic returns

To verify the results seen overseas, field trials were conducted across Australia in 2023 at sites in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.

In a small plot replicated wheat trial conducted by Cummins Ag in South Australia, equivalent rates of urea plus or minus Utrisha® N applied at tillering were compared to develop a yield response curve.  This curve (Image 1) shows a contribution from Utrisha® N equivalent to approximately 30 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare.  A similar result was seen with the work conducted by Cummins Ag in canola. (Image 2)

“These are positive dose response curves and show Utrisha® N is effective at supplying supplemental nutrition to the crop above the conventional N application,” Mr Cornally said.

A field-scale trial in Calingiri, WA, was conducted to determine if using Utrisha® N in conjunction with Flexi-N® increased grain yield in wheat. All treatments, including the Nil plots had an application of 70L/ha of Flexi-N as a base treatment.  Treatments were applied as a top-dressing at GS32 growth stage of wheat.

Yield maps (Image 3) show the reduction in variability across the paddock with different treatments: nothing (Nil) applied as a top dress; Flexi-N at 30L/ha; Flexi-N at 30L/ha plus Utrisha® N at the recommended rate; and Flexi-N at 45L/ha plus Utrisha® N at 1.5 times the recommended rate. 

Average wheat yield across 16 replications from Flexi-N alone was 3.11t/ha, compared to 3.27t/ha where Utrisha® N was added.  This was a statistically significant yield increase of approximately 5%. (Image 4)

“While individual results will vary due to rainfall, background nutrition, grower programs and other factors, close to 100 small trial and farm demonstrations have been conducted across Australia to verify yield and quality gains provided by Utrisha® N in a variety of domestic crops and conditions,” Mr Cornally said.

“What we’ve seen is Utrisha® N performing as we would expect, based on the results of overseas experience, where it has been established in the market for some time.”

IMAGE 3: Spatial grain yield response to Utrisha N in wheat
IMAGE 4: Grain Yield response in wheat from the application of Utrisha® N

Flexibility in Nitrogen Management

Utrisha® N is applied early in a crop, to allow sufficient time for the bacteria to effectively colonise the plant and provide supplementary nitrogen.  The ability to mix Utrisha® N with many crop inputs means this application can be built into the field management program that has been planned for that crop.  Farmers and agronomists can then plan how best to manage the rest of the nutrition program that needs to be applied to the crop to maximise the yield and quality.

“There are also environmental programs being implemented which reward growers for reducing their inputs and/or improving sustainability. Utrisha® N may have a beneficial role to play in those programs and we will continue to work with growers to help them achieve their sustainability goals and understand if this is an appropriate way for their operation to use the product.”

Also Read: India Initiates Anti-Dumping Investigation on Imports of Pretilachlor from China

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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