O’Fallon company sees promise in water conservation agent

 

From Illinois Business Journal news services

O’FALLON, Ill. — Locally based Brookside Agra says it has developed an all-natural water conservation agent called H2OExcel that is showing promising results in multiple university research studies and recent field trials on corn, soybean and wheat crops in Illinois.

Five farmers, each with 20 acres, participated in the Brookside Agra/Cardinal Agriculture Services field trials held during the 2015 growing season. The farms are located in the Illinois counties of Washington, Greene, St. Clair, White and Monroe, with the crops consisting of 70 percent corn, 20 percent soybean and 10 percent wheat.

“We worked with several Illinois farmers during the trials to determine the specific composition of their soils, the mineral interactions and soil food-web present in each of their fields,” said Ben Elliott, vice president, Agronomy Operations at Cardinal Agriculture Services. “With the information we gathered, we were able to establish the use rates for using Brookside’s H2OExcel, plus provide detailed instructions on how and when the water conservation agent was to be applied. The results were quite significant.”

Elliott and his research team observed slightly reduced disease pressure; greater leaf and root mass; cleaner internal structure of the corn plant, monitored at three different growth stages; higher test weights throughout harvest by an average of 5 percent; and several other benefits.

On crop farms throughout the U.S. where the government has restricted water use due to drought conditions, and nutrient run-off is closely monitored, water management practices have become increasingly important to growers.

Elliott said his team will be shifting their research efforts this year to working with just a few key growers to test situations that they did not get to test in the first trial. They also plan to expand their field trials in 2016 to include turf applications.

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