Apr 13, 2023
Survey reveals acceptance, potential of biological inputs

The growing awareness of biological products is highlighted by a study that surveyed row crop farmers.

Of the 500 farmers surveyed, 83% said they are aware of the term “biologicals,” and early adopters of the natural inputs rated them positively, according to the study from a partnership of the Fertilizer Institute, Agricultural Retailers Association, bipartisan government relations firm DCLRS and the Stratovation Group.

Cam Camfield, CEO of Stratovation, a research, consulting and advertising firm, said the findings are “solidly positive” in favor of biologicals.

Click to enlarge. Photo: Stratovation

“We repeatedly heard that farmers using agricultural biologicals viewed them as sustainable inputs to boost profitability and increase yields,” Camfield said in a news release. “We will track all these benchmarks going forward, but if you look at all the market indicators beyond our study, this class of crop inputs is on a steep trajectory upward.”

At the same time, Camfield said the research shows there is a need for continued education among farmers.

“… We also learned there is a ton of additional education needed to help this market reach its potential, and biological companies should consider sharing performance results with influential farmers and their advisors,” he said in the release.

More than a third of the farmers reported they currently use biologicals on their crops and rated them positively, giving them a score of 7.14 out of 10. Farmers cited Increased nitrogen efficiency and decreased fertilizer expense as reasons for their positive response.

“We have a positive adoption curve, and farmers are reporting real benefits from the use of biologicals,” Corey Rosenbusch, president and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), said in the release. “But we also hear farmers say they want additional proof of their efficacy. We are launching the TFI ‘Certified Biostimulant’ Program in June that will help provide those answers.”

Of those farmers not currently using biologicals, most said they would be willing to try them if their profitability could be proven.

Sponsors of the research include Meristem Crop Performance, BASF, Indigo, Pivot Bio, Evoia, BPIA, Certis Biologicals, AMVAC, Lallemand and Redox Bio-Nutrients.

The project was conducted in two phases, a qualitative study that included 40 hour-long, in-depth farmer interviews, followed by a quantitative survey of 500 full-time, professional row-crop producers.

The study included a deep dive into several related topics, including farmer demographics, the make-up of the farm’s team and capabilities, selected on-farm practices, preferred retail channel and trusted partners. The research also dug into the awareness, perception, biological purchase and use history, practices, future intent and recognition of leading biological companies and brands.

For more information or to purchase a copy of the full report, visit https://stratovationgroup.com/biologicals/.

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