Select your country

america oceania africa asia europe
» News » Crop growth stress: the use of biostimulants beyond environmental stress 

Crop growth stress: the use of biostimulants beyond environmental stress 

Certain biostimulants have very specific roles in helping prevent and recover crops from environmental and weather stresses. 

However, a different source of stress in crops is the stress that occurs each time the crop passes through a growth stage, for example changing from the germination stage to the vegetative stage, changing from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, etc. 

Similar to Primactive and Curactive Biostimulants, there are specific Biostimulants that target, and help to reduce, each of these specific crop growth stresses. 


Humic and fulvic acids for root growth


Humic and fulvic acids help in the recovery of the degraded structure of soils, in the retention and availability of nutrients in soil, and facilitate improved soil moisture retention, among other functions. Humic and fulvic acids, such as Humistar / Humifirst, have also been shown to have a direct biostimulation effect on crops, in particular by triggering increased root growth that facilitates improved overall crop performance (Szczepanek & Wilczewski 2011). This biostimulation effect is particularly beneficial in the early stages of growth, when more root development is desired, such as during the germination phase, during transplant, during vegetative growth phases and at the breaking of root dormancy in perennial crops. 

Biostimulants can also be incorporated into formulations that contain specific nutrients, such as the incorporation of Humic and Fulvic Acids with the Phosphorus, Nitrogen and micronutrients needed for early and vigorous crop development, as in Tradecorp’s Turbo Root.

In this example, the synergy between Biostimulants and specific crop nutrition reduces transplant shock and promotes vigorous early growth demonstrating how knowledge of both biostimulants and crop nutrition, when appropriately combined, bring maximum benefit to crops.

Another risk factor during the early phases of crop growth is excess vegetative growth, which can reduce root development. This is a particular risk where basal doses of Nitrogen have been applied to the soil. Specific Biostimulant products that promote balanced root and shoot development have an important role during this growth period, for example Ruter AA V. In this product, the key for this balanced root and shoot development is the combination of amino acids with nutrients favouring balanced early growth, such as Phosphorus and Potassium, as well as Molybdenum to enhance the plant metabolism of the applied basal Nitrogen fertiliser.  


Biostimulants for enhanced flowering / fruit set 

As crops change from vegetative growth to flowering and then fruit set, a large biophysical and biochemical change is produced, and stress is triggered, in the crop. During these phases of growth, specific targeted Biostimulants can have a very strong effect on flower number, fertility and fruit set. 

Targeted biostimulants to benefit crop growth during these critical growth phases often have a seaweed or amino acid base, as both of these biostimulant classes have beneficial effects on either flower number, pollen vitality or pollination success. From a nutritional standpoint, Boron and Molybdenum are key nutrients demanded by the crop at this growth stage. Therefore, it is logical to develop a product that combines one of the biostimulant raw materials with Boron and / or Molybdenum to produce a combination biostimulant / nutritional product, for example Florastart or Phylgreen B-Mo.


By taking this approach, it is easier for growers to ensure they are giving optimal nutritional and biostimulation to their crop at this key growth stage using a single product. This avoids the need or confusion of having to mix and apply multiple different biostimulant and nutritional products that costs the grower time and increases the risk of an adverse tankmix

This scenario is a good example of the development of the biostimulant market overall. Whereas in the early days of biostimulant use it was more common to apply a pure biostimulant and then mix it with other nutritional products, it is now usual to apply a single premixed product that contains both. 



Biostimulants and better fruit fill 

During fruit fill the diversion of energy to fill the fruit and produce viable seeds results in increased internal crop stress.









Biostimulant with yet different modes of action are often beneficial during this stage, such as biostimulants that enhance the transport of sugars, like Amifol K, or solutions that promote fruit fill and quality thanks to added Calcium, like Phylgreen Electra

Other options, promote fruit fill, while containing biostimulants that focus on reducing the negative effect of adverse temperature and reducing the effect of free radicals (also known as Reactive Oxygen Species – ROS). Free radicals have many negative effects on crops such as reducing amino acid and thus protein content. 


What’s next for biostimulants? 

 In little under a decade, the use of biostimulants has grown from almost zero to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Knowledge about the use and function of biostimulants has also increased at an exponential rate.  

First came the knowledge about which products had biostimulant effects, then came increasing knowledge about the mode of action and how biostimulants work inside the crop. This has enabled increasingly precise recommendations regarding timing and dosage of biostimulant applications and has led to more consistent results and greater returns on investment for growers. 

The use of biostimulants in agronomic programs continues to expand globally as this new knowledge is applied. At the same time, a new generation of biostimulants are currently under development, harnessing the knowledge gained during the past decade and including new sources of raw materials and incorporating novel aspects, such as ultra-low dosages and ultra-efficiency.  

As a result, the use of biostimulants will continue to expand in this new decade gaining an increasing importance in assisting agriculture be more sustainable while at the same time helping to increase yield and quality to feed the growing global population.