Title:  An evaluation of the effects of biostimulants on establishment and growth of wildlife forages
Author(s): Bronson Strickland, Bill Hamrick, Marcus Lashley, Craig Harper
Year: 2010
Abstract: Land managers often report low germination rates, poor seedling survival, and suboptimal production when planting forage food plots. To potentially improve planting success and vigor, seed and plant biostimulants are often recommended. We conducted 3 forage trials to evaluate the effects of DeltAg Seed Coat and Plant Power treatments in 2007, 2008, and 2009 in Tennessee and Mississippi. In the cool-season trials, seedling counts, root length, root mass, and shoot length were greater in the Seed Coat-treated plots (P < 0.10); however, forage biomass did not differ. In the 2008 warm-season trial, seedling counts, root length, root mass, and forage biomass did not differ among treatments. In the 2009 warm-season trial, seedling counts, root length, and root mass, did not differ among treatments, but forage biomass was greater in the Plant Power-treated plots (P < 0.10), with an average increase of 150 lbs dry matter/acre. Our data suggest drought tolerance and nutrient absorption may be positively affected by the Seed Coat treatment, however, forage production was largely unaffected by biostimulant additives. Additional replication with various forage plantings is needed to assess the effectiveness of these treatments. The economic implications of our findings will be discussed.

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