“Biology in a Bottle”: The Next Big Thing

These days the ag world is buzzing with talk of yield enhancing biological products. “Boost plant performance”, “harness the power of nature”, “feed soil biology”, “unlock your soils’ potential to supply nutrients”: These types of slogans are heard and seen all over ag media. And you know what’s funny? A lot of these products are trying to do the same things that Midwestern BioAg has been doing for 30 years. The difference lies in the fact that MBA takes a systems approach, as opposed to the piecemeal approach of applying a product here or a product there. MBA recognizes that soil health comes from building fertility and improving nutrient and water- holding capacity as well as soil aggregation. The benefit of biological products in a bottle is icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

Although many of these biological products contain substances that may be beneficial to plant or soil health, the question is whether this translates into a production benefit in the real world. Are these products actually altering soil or plant chemistry or, as Gary Zimmer likes to say, are they “muck-a-magic”, or too good to be true? Sifting through the information to get the most bang for your buck can be time consuming, but it is more and more important as profit margins shrink.

One of the most recent additions to Midwestern BioAg’s product line is RootSurge®. What sets RootSurge apart from other “biology-in-a-bottle” products is its formulation. The product is a combination of three exclusive and expertly formulated products that provide specially chelated micronutrients in ratios conducive to plant uptake, as well as beneficial microorganisms and a food source to sustain them.


“The dual action chelation yields micronutrients to plants more readily”


Chelated forms of micronutrients have become common in the industry. Mixing a chelating agent with micronutrients helps to keep them more available in the soil. The chelator reacts with the nutrient and holds onto it tightly enough to keep it from interacting with the soil and being tied up, but loosely enough to allow plants to absorb it. RootSurge is formulated with a patented dual chelation system. The product contains some EDTA, which is the industry standard to chelate certain micronutrients, but also contains Iminodisuccinate sodium (IDS) chelated micros. This special chelator is designed to work across a wider pH range than EDTA. The dual action chelation also yields up micronutrients to plants more readily and biodegrades more quickly than EDTA, which can persist in the soil for extended periods.

RootSurge also contains several strains of plant growth promoting microorganisms. The strains of bacteria in RootSurge enhance plant growth by increasing photosynthetic efficiency, producing enzymes that speed up the release of nutrients from organic matter and produce hormones that mimic those that plants use to induce growth. Some of these strains are also known to directly suppress many pathogenic fungi that exist in the soil, such as Fusarium and Pythium. RootSurge also contains a strain of mycorrhizal fungi, which helps improve plant nutrient acquisition. This specific mixture of microorganisms was carefully selected to utilize the most beneficial strains available.

When discussing products that add microorganisms to the soil, the question that often arises is whether these microbes actually survive in the soil long enough to have a positive effect. The soil is an ever-changing environment, and there has been some worry that the biology in so-called “microbial soil inoculants” cannot persist in the soil due to the various stressors they encounter. When creating RootSurge, two approaches have been taken to ensure that the biology survive and thrive. The first is simply to include a large amount of microorganisms. RootSurge contains exponentially more “colony forming units” than any of its competitors, and this provides an insurance policy against a variable environment. The second approach is to add a proven food source for the microbes to feed on as they establish themselves in the soil. This food source contains proteins and other compounds that support the microbial component of RootSurge, while also supplying nutritional substances that can be utilized by the plant directly.

RootSurge can be used in a variety of ways with your current fertility program. As a seed treatment, RootSurge improves germination, enhances plant root development and improves stress tolerance.RootSurge’s patented chelated micronutrients are stable in solutions with a pH range of 3-11 and areortho- and poly-phosphate compatible meaning they can be applied with water soluble fertilizers.RootSurge also has exceptional tank-mix compatibility with many other fertilizers as well as pesticides making it ideal for soil, foliar and hydroponic applications. When applied at 2 qts per acre, RootSurge has been shown to improve water stress, enhance root mass and depth and increase nutrient availability in the soil. It is hands down one of the best “biology in a bottle” products on the market today. Its unique combination of three exclusive products brings exponentially more microbes, chelated micronutrients and enzymes than other comparable products; increasing the production and profitability of your operation.

RootSurge is an excellent addition to a biological fertility program. It provides micronutrients that are readily plant available as well as microorganisms that support plant health and can enhance nutrient acquisition and efficiency of use. To learn more about utilizing RootSurge on your operation, contact your Midwestern BioAg consultant today.