Amending the Soil

Alexin Ag introduces Myconate

Published in the January 2012 Issue Published online: Jan 19, 2012
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Alexin Ag, a newly formed company with a dedicated focus on the horticulture and specialty markets, recently introduced Myconate for use on potatoes.

Myconate is a registered trademark of Plant Health Care Group, a leading provider of naturally based products for agriculture, commercial landscaping and land reclamation industries. Plant Health Care has been testing and developing this product globally with a focus on licensing to seed treatment companies.

Myconate is the synthetically produced version of a naturally occurring signaling compound. In the 1980's, this exudate was extracted and identified from red clover roots by scientists at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. Chemically identified as isoflavanone formononetin, PHC Myconate is a soil amendment proven to help many crops produce better yields.

Mycorrhizal Fungi

Myconate works by stimulating the colonization of plant roots by beneficial microorganisms called mycorrhizal fungi. With more mycorrhizal fungi at work, potato plants can draw more nutrients and moisture out of the soil. Myconate is an economical means to increase the efficiency of the mycorrhizal spores in the soil, thereby experiencing the benefits of earlier and higher root colonization.

Most soils contain a ready supply of mycorrhizal fungi. The formononetin in Myconate works to get them to potato roots quickly. When used in VAM-depleted agricultural soils, the results are even more dramatic. As soon as roots appear, they are colonized by mycorrhizal fungi, which in effect give growers a much larger effective root system that improves water and fertilizer uptake.

Myconate is safe and easy to apply, and growers won't need to adjust their management practices in any way. Purpose-specific formulations allow growers to apply Myconate to seed right before planting, tank mixed with a starter fertilizer during planting or applied to soil in sprays, side-dressings, drenches or through irrigation systems.

In fumigated soils, Myconate will assist in getting the remaining mycorrhizal fungi to colonize the roots for more vigorous early season growth.

More importantly for growers who fumigate and greatly reduce the mycorrhizal fungi in the soil, Myconate will assist in colonizing the remaining population to the roots.

Recent Field Trials

Myconate has been proven to benefit many crops, providing a novel chemistry to colonize the potato roots early.

For the past three years, Plant Health Care has carried out many field trials in the Pacific Northwest and Wisconsin, with compelling results in terms of gross yield and marketable yield.

Recent replicated field trials in Idaho and Washington have demonstrated both gross and marketable yield improvements with an at-plant application of Myconate. All rates increased gross yield by more than the cost of the treatment.

"I believe it's the only mycorrhizal-simulating material that's derived from a plant..After doing a lot of research, I don't think anybody has anything that fits in that piece of the market," says Peter Bierma, co-owner of Alexin Ag. "I guess that's the novel aspect that I see of it."

Bierma and business partner Steve Glennon began discussing possible licensing rights for Myconate with Plant Health Care several months ago. Both have worked with many other organizations and have a combined 50 years of experience in the Crop Protection Industry.

Headquartered in Junction City, Ore., Alexin Ag's focus will be to represent, develop and acquire high-quality products to anticipate the evolving markets for pest control and crop production. The company offers a growing portfolio of unique products and novel formulations. This unique strategy, in combination with an experienced management team, will provide solutions and value for their customers.

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