Biostimulants basics publication issued by AHDB

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Farmers can find out about biostimulants and their potential for use within UK cereal and oilseed rape production systems, thanks to a new AHDB publication.

Based on a review, issued by the organisation in 2016, the publication looks at the terminology surrounding biostimulants, in addition to the product types and their potential to benefit crops.

Key considerations, such as how to get the best results from biostimulants and market acceptability of treated crops, are also outlined in the ‘crop biostimulants’ factsheet.

The term ‘biostimulant’ covers anything added to the plant or soil that stimulates natural processes and benefits crops, excluding any fertilisation and pesticidal action.

Dr Sajjad Awan, who manages natural resources work at AHDB, said: “Many growers are intrigued by biostimulants and our review shows some products have potential for use within crop production systems.

“The market for biostimulants is expanding globally and the European Commission is exploring options to regulate them. The regulations should help ensure products meet minimum safety and environmental requirements. It will also mean, importantly, that label claims are backed up by product efficacy data.

“Our publication provides an invaluable background to biostimulants, to help people judge which, if any, biostimulants could benefit their crops.”

In addition to the factors that influence biostimulant efficacy – such as those related to application technique and the soil environment – the publication also states the importance of checking whether the supply chain has placed any restrictions on their use.

Growers, in particular, should be aware that a limited range of biostimulant products is derived from mammalian tissue by-products. As detailed in the latest edition of the Fresh Produce Standards (October 2017), published by Red Tractor, growers must check with trade customers or buyers before making applications of such products.

To access the publication and the associated review, visit


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