Our Guide to Plant Biostimulants & Their Benefits to Agricultural Farming

With global warming and climate change growing in intensity over recent years, farmers are now faced with an immediate risk of decreasing their productivity and eventually receiving lower income. Recent innovations, however, have paved the way for farmers to increase their agricultural production. One such innovation is through plant biostimulants.

Over the years, the power of plant biostimulants has sparked interest among many crop producers and farmers. With its growing demand and popularity, there have been debates regarding whether or not it is an effective solution to the productivity issues that farmers face.

What is Plant Biostimulants?

Despite the fact that the term “plant biostimulant” has been used since 1997, there is no globally accepted definition for regulatory, commercial, or legal purposes. The European Biostimulants Industry Council, however, defines them as “microorganisms and/or substance, when applied to the rhizosphere of plants, enhances and stimulates natural processes to benefit and improve nutrient efficiency, crop quality, and tolerance to abiotic stress, as well as nutrient uptake. 

Categories of Biostimulants

  • Seaweed Extracts – soluble powders or liquid that are derived through various extraction processes.
  • Humic and fulvic acids – these are parts of soil organic matter from decomposed animals, microbial residues, or plants. 
  • Plant extracts
  • Beneficial bacteria and fungi (mycorrhizae/Bacillus and Rhizobium fungi) – concentration of fungi and/or bacteria in the soil that helps with root growth. 
  • Proteins and amino acids (plant or animal origin)
  • Beneficial elements [Silicon (Si), Aluminum (Al)]

Most biostimulants are made from certain types of plants, the most common of which is kelp. Others may include willow bark extract, soy protein hydrolysate, stinging nettle extract, aloe extract, and Yucca extract. 

Claimed benefits of Plant Biostimulants

Agricultural biostimulants include various formulations of substances, micro-organisms, and compounds that are applied to plants or soil that helps improve crop quality, vigour, yields, and tolerance of abiotic stresses. From seed germination to plant maturity, biostimulants promote plant growth and development throughout the crop life cycle. They can benefit plants and/or soils in several ways, including but not limited to:

  • Improving nutrient use
  • Facilitating nutrient translocation, assimilation, and use
  • Increasing plant tolerance to and recovery from abiotic stresses
  • Rendering water use more efficient
  • Enhancing quality attributes of produce, including fruit seeding, sugar content, and colour
  • Enhancing soil fertility, specifically by promoting the development of complementary soil micro-organism
  • Improving resistance to insects, diseases, and drought

Biostimulants are beneficial to farmers in helping them improve their crop productivity. It has been shown to stimulate many factors that affect plant growth and development, including root diameter, root growth, increased microbial activity leading to increased nutrient availability, soil water holding capacity, and much more. In most cases, however, responses are highly variable. Keep in mind that the weather, organic matter content, soil type, the type of crop rotation, and tillage system all affect the growth of the plants. 

Final thoughts

When looking for new products, it is important that you are aware of where they are made from and how effective they are. 

If you’re looking for powerful plant biostimulants in the UK, visit Moonshine Global to view our range of incredible products!