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How Biologicals Help Crops Withstand Drought Conditions


As of July 4, much of the Midwest and Southern regions are experiencing levels of drought ranging from “abnormally dry” to “exceptional drought.” In these conditions, growing healthy crops can be a challenge, especially if irrigation is not an option.

But, there’s good news. The microorganisms in biological crop nutrition products have a great impact on plants’ stress tolerance and ability to withstand drought conditions.

Water Retention

Soils with high organic matter content are better at retaining water and nutrients, reducing the need for consistent moisture. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, for every 1% of organic matter added to the soil, you will see an average of 1% higher available water capacity (AWC) in the soil. Here’s what you can expect with your soil types:

  • Loamy sand: 1.13% AWC increase

  • Silt loam: 1.04% AWC increase

  • Clay loam: 0.82% AWC increase

“Increasing [organic matter] by 1% increases AWC by about 3,400 gallons per acre for medium-textured soil, on top of an estimated existing 71,000 gallons available water capacity,” Anna Cates, Minnesota state soil health specialist, says. “3,400 gallons is about a one-ninth inch rainfall or irrigation event. That’s 3,400 gallons in the soil, instead of lost as runoff. That water prevents drought stress and holds soluble nutrients, like nitrate, that plants will be able to access.”

In any season, capacity for 3,400 more gallons of water makes an impact. But in drought conditions, this improved ability and capacity to retain water is a true game-changer for withstanding long periods of time without additional moisture—and it’s all thanks to organic matter.

Biological crop nutrition products increase organic matter by releasing microorganisms into the soil. These microbes add to the organic matter themselves, while also turning other nutrients into valuable organic matter in the soil.

This organic matter helps increase water retention and uptake, which sets off a chain reaction of positive impacts within the plant and soil. With improved water availability comes improved nutrient flow, creating healthier, stronger, plants that will produce higher yields.

Nutrient Uptake

BW-Meltdown is a perfect example of microorganisms generating more nutrients and organic matter. The microbes in Meltdown eat away at crop stubble, breaking the residue down into valuable organic matter and plant-available nutrients.

Meltdown has shown to increase nutrient value-per-acre by over 64% in independent research studies. Plus, it’s made from a team of all-organic, 100% naturally occurring microbes, organic acids and nitrogen.

A Cherokee County, Iowa case study proves the impact BW Fusion biologicals have on plant stress tolerance and drought resistance. In this study, the grower’s fields were under two years of limited moisture and in a level D2 severe drought.

Despite this, the grower still saw consistent corn yields between 240 and 280 bushels per acre, and only applied 157 lbs of commercial N and 75 lbs of K—no additional P.

Check out the full case study here, or watch a video about the study here.

With BW Fusion biological crop nutrition products, your plants can continue to access the moisture and nutrients they need to thrive this season, even when the weather is less than ideal. BW Fusion is proud to help growers succeed through all conditions.