Promising field trial results from The BioAg Alliance

The first full year trials show yield increases in corn and soy. Novozymes and Monsanto plan for expanded trials in 2015.

The BioAg Alliance, Novozymes’ and Monsanto’s collaboration to improve soil health and harvest through naturally-occurring microorganisms, today announced its first full year field trial results. Of the top 10 microbial strains tested in corn and soybeans, average yield increases were 4 bushels per acre for corn and 2 bushels per acre for soy. The results are positive given the strong backdrop of overall record crop yields in 2014.

“For microbial performance, which typically stands out under more stressed conditions, this type of benefit in favorable growing conditions is very promising,” says Novozymes’ Vice President Colin Bletsky. “These technologies have significant potential to support continued advancements in modern agriculture and help meet growing global demand for food. They help farmers produce more crops with fewer inputs.”

With the formation of The BioAg Alliance just under a year ago, the progress has been impressive. The partners are leveraging Monsanto’s global network to increase the reach of existing commercial products – from Optimize® inoculant for soybeans in the United States to Torque® inoculant for corn in Ukraine – and new product candidates are currently in development. Novozymes and Monsanto conducted over 170,000 trials across hundreds of microbial strains in 2014 and plan to expand trials in 2015. The partners also continue to collaborate with and evaluate third party microbial technologies in addition to those under development by the companies.

“Monsanto remains focused on delivering innovations for agriculture that help increase the amount of crops that make it to harvest and further support the efficient use of natural resources,” says Tom Adams, Vice President of Global Biotechnology at Monsanto. “We are proud to collaborate with Novozymes to bring scale to microbial testing that’s never been seen before. We believe the collective microbial discovery, field testing capability and fermentation production expertise will deliver new options for farmers.”

The results were announced as part of Monsanto’s annual pipeline update. For more information, go to www.monsanto.com/pipeline.

What is a field trial?

Agricultural field trials are conducted to compare the yields of different varieties of crops or crop inputs under realistic conditions or in the actual situations for which they are intended. These trials are an important part in the development of products for use in agriculture as they provide information that helps assess the performance of the new product, and generate environmental safety data needed by regulatory authorities when conducting commercial product approvals. Field trials can involve several phases including field testing, which include screening and selection of a small number of plants in compliance with regulatory requirements. Small-scale trials typically yield results that can be used for further screening and selection of plants for testing in larger field trials.