Stoller Enterprises Limited applied several of its products to its Canola 100 plot at the Ag In Motion farm show near Saskatoon last July. There are 140 products in Stoller’s portfolio, and they added as many of these as they could to increase their plot yields.
Kip Workman, Stoller Enterprises’ commercial product manager for Canada, explains Stoller’s approach by saying that they aren’t asking farmers to take things out of their traditional program, or cut rates of products they already use. Instead, he says, “these are ‘in-addition-to” products.
Along with the Lumiderm seed treatment used in all of the AIM Canola 100 plots, Workman says, “we started off with a Bioforge seed treatment.”
Workman says seed treatment is key to getting the plant off to a good start. “When that seed is stressed, it starts producing stress hormones, and it’s not producing growth hormones.”
Nutrition with herbicide
Stoller applied its next two products along with two herbicide sprays. Along with the first herbicide application, Stoller added Bio-Forge Gold, a combination of two of Stoller’s classic products: Golden Harvest and Bio-Forge.
“The Golden Harvest component is providing all the essential nutrients that the plant needs at that stage of growth,” Workman says.
Workman sees the roots as the plant’s “storage facility.” “We want to make that storage facility as big as possible below the ground.”
Bio-Forge Gold includes several micro-nutrients: sulphur, magnesium, boron, copper, iron and molybdenum. “So that’s kind of like a multi-vitamin,” Workman says.
Stoller designed Bio-Forge Gold for use on wheat, canola, soybeans and corn. For each of these crops, Workman says, the product contains more micro-nutrients than are probably necessary, but adding them all has allowed Stoller to market one single product for all of these crops.
While Stoller recommends tissue testing, at the time of the first herbicide application, farmers are not likely to have any tissue test results that early. “This is a way to be pro-active about your plant nutrition,” Workman says.
Stoller added its Nitrate Balancer with the second herbicide pass. “This is a boron-molybdenum product,” Workman says.
Stoller uses this product to curb vegetative growth. “When that plant’s growing excessive vegetation, that’s energy that could be used more efficiently somewhere else. We’re tying to cap that vegetative growth and send that energy down to the roots, so we can create more root storage.
“What you’re seeing above the ground should be a reflection of what’s below the ground. So the shorter and more boxy we can get that plant, we’re hoping that the root system is doing the same thing underneath the ground. Therefore we can use the energy in that plant more efficiently.”
Workman notes that Nitrate Balancer is not a plant growth regulator and doesn’t contain hormones.
Stoller only began working with Nitrate Balancer in Western Canada this past year. Some customers used it on wheat to limit vegetative growth. Workman says it has also been used in South and Central America to shorten plant vine lengths.
Nutrition and fungicide
Stoller added more nutrition products with each of two fungicide applications. “These products have to go in when the guys are going across the field anyway,” Workman says. “All of our stuff is compatible with any herbicides or fungicides that are out there.”
With the first fungicide application, Stoller added its plant nutrition product Action 5X.
With the second fungicide application, Stoller applied SugarMover — a Stoller product that includes boron, mylybduen and a growth-enhancing co-factor. Once the plant has shifted from building roots to building pods and seeds, Workman says, “the Sugar Mover is going to push all of the stored sugars in the roots, the leaves, the stem — all towards the fruiting part of the plant.”
“The boron and the co-factors within that Sugar Mover are telling the plant, ‘it’s time to finish, let’s move all the sugars towards the fruiting part of the plant.’ We want to add that in the mid- to late-flowering stage. Early on the plant has enough energy to keep flowering on its own. This is kind of a little boost at the end to say ‘keep flowering, keep moving sugars and push all of the stored energy toward the fruiting part of the plant’.”
Because the plots couldn’t be harvested before snow fell, there are no yield results. If the Stoller plot didn’t yield 100 bushels per acre, Workman hoped the yield would have been in the high 80s. Eye tests, he says are not the best way to judge a crop. “I wouldn’t say bigger is better.”
Altogether, Stoller added a seed treatment, then applied Stoller proucts with two herbicide sprays and two fungicide sprays. “For traditional practice, that would be somebody going above and beyond,” Workman says.
Workman says there have been a lot of misconceptions about adding foliar nutrition products to increase yield. “In the past, guys have maybe used the product and it hasn’t worked. Or there hasn’t been sufficient data to back up claims for that product. The stuff that we’re marketing is not new. We’ve been using these products in the States and South America for over 20 years.”
Stoller has been distributing products in Canada for 20 years, with a full-time focus starting three years ago.
While this intense program may not be for everyone. Workman says, “We’re trying to see what’s possible.”