The decomposition of organic matter relies on bacteria and fungi that are commonly referred to as soil microbes. Matthew Kleinhenz, The Ohio State University professor and extension specialist, says many microbes are included as leading components of microbecontaining crop stimulants (MCCSs) advertised to enhance soil and crop health, accelerate soil nutrient cycling, and improve crop quality.
“MCCSs appeal to ever-greater numbers of sustainable-organic farmers (SOFs),” said Kleinhenz. “The challenge, however, is that MCCSs are numerous, diverse, and often expensive to apply. Also, most MCCS labels offer little help when selecting or using products.”
In 2016, Kleinhez received a $198,842 NCRSARE Research and Education grant to identify and develop resources for selecting, using, and evaluating the benefits of MCCS to help SOFs and their advisors.
The project is ongoing, but Kleinhenz is currently partnering with SOFs, organizations, MCCS manufacturers, and extension-research colleagues to develop technically rigorous, consensus-based, and user-oriented resources.
“Overall, we will improve farmers’ immediate capacities to sensibly and reliably integrate MCCSs into their toolboxes,” said Kleinhenz. “Material, digital, and human networking resources will insure that new research-based information is widely available in user-friendly formats.”
The team has created a list-serv, hosted call-in conversations about practical issues around MCCSs, and has developed a “Bugs in a Jug” website where they’ve posted recordings of the call-in conversations as well as other resources. Visit the site online at https://u.osu.edu/vegprolab/researchareas/vegebiostimsferts/.
View Kleinhenz's presentation on this project, from the 2018 Farmer's Forum, through NCR-SARE's Youtube playlist. Visit www.youtube.com/NCRSAREvideo for this and other videos.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant:
- Resources that Help Sustainable-Organic Vegetable Growers Select, Use, and Evaluate Microbe-containing Crop Stimulants (MCCSs) More Effectively (LNC16-380)