Early Vixeran timing to boost biomass recovery


Cereal crops that have been badly affected by waterlogging and wet soils over the winter now stand to make greatest gains from Vixeran biofertiliser, providing a 40 kg/ha N boost early in the agronomy programme this year.

Crops’ with damaged rooting, or where residual soil nutrients have leeched away, could get a fast pick up from Vixeran application in the initial fungicide timing - giving a rapid delivery of readily available nitrogen exactly where it’s required in the plant, advises Syngenta UK Technical Manager and biologicals specialist, Andy Cunningham.


“Extensive research has shown that the specific strain of Azotobacter salinestris bacteria in Vixeran, CECT 9690, can colonise the plant and multiply to beneficial levels in less than 24 hours, compared to a week or more with some other endophyte bioproducts,” he reported.

The Vixeran bacteria strain is unique in its high nitrogen fixation activity and its triple mode of action – working as a foliar endophyte, root endophyte and in the soil rhizosphere. The bacteria convert freely available atmospheric nitrogen directly into ammonium, which circumvents the plants’ most energy hungry stage of conventional fertiliser conversion and enables amino acid production to build biomass.


“That could prove especially useful to provide an essential nutrient buffer if wet weather further disrupts fertiliser applications this year, or even if dry weather limits nutrient uptake and utilisation, as has occurred in recent spring condition,” added Andy. 

“With a Vixeran biofertiliser application you can be confident that plants are getting essential nutrient during the crucial early spring stages of biomass development that will drive yield." 

"One of the other major advantages we have seen with Vixeran is that it is remarkably resilient to environmental factors, which makes it applicable in a wide range of crops and conditions.” 

For winter cereals, he believes a single spray application of Vixeran at 50 g/ha at the an early fungicide timing, to coincide with tillering through to stem extension, will give a valuable boost. Vixeran has proven to be biologically compatible with a wide range of crop protection products that could be used around that timing.

Andy believes that, after the wet winter risks of nutrient loss in many fields, most growers and agronomists would opt to use the 30 – 50 kg/ha of N that trials indicate Vixeran can typically supply to supplement the full intended fertiliser strategy and enhance yield. 

“Where growers are looking at reduced nitrogen regimes, nutrient dose response curves from repeated field trials across the UK last year suggest growers using Vixeran could typically reduce conventional N by 30 kg/ha and still compensate to retain the same yields as a full fertiliser programme, although trials across in the UK and Europe have shown it could compensate more.”   

He recommends that in winter cereals initial fertiliser application should be at the full planned rate, with any reductions that are decided to be made cut back in second or subsequent applications. 

Milling wheat growers are not advised to reduce any N fertiliser plans when using Vixeran to assure grain protein, but all feed crop growers have the full flexibility to choose.   

Andy advised that to get the optimum performance with Vixeran crops should be actively growing at the time of application, ideally with temperatures reaching 10-12⁰C on the day of treatment to promote rapid colonisation of the bacteria. Also to try and avoid prolonged periods of temperatures below 5⁰C for five days post application to ensure the activity of the Vixeran bacteria. 



Click here to find out more on what Vixeran can do for your crop recovery

“We have seen that if soil temperatures do fall after application, the level of nitrogen fixation may drop off. But crucially the bacteria survive and, when temperatures rise, the nutrient production resumes at the previous levels. That’s a great testament to the resilience of the product,” he added.

The ease of use and convenience of Vixeran means it can be readily incorporated into most spring agronomy regimes. There are great benefits in delivering more sustainable utilisation of nitrogen across a range of crops. 

“It could also be especially useful to help crops that were slow to establish in the autumn," he believes. 

"For growers in areas where conventional nitrogen is being severely impacted by environmental regulation it offers a hugely valuable source of nutrient, in a form that will be fully utilised by the plant and with no risk of additional leaching or losses,” he added. 

Syngenta has trialed Vixeran use to enhance yields on a range of other crops, including pulses, maize, sugar beet, potatoes, field vegetables and grassland.