The results are in from this year’s trials and – at a whopping 12.6 to 1 (!!) return on investment – Stimulate’s results wowed even we who expected big numbers.
Potato plants naturally produce three growth hormones – gibberellic acid, cytokinin and auxin – to promote and regulate each stage of growth from seed germination through tuber bulking. Stoller’s Stimulate is a bio-identical version of those three hormones in a balanced patented formulation. When foliar applied, Stimulate does what its name suggests: it stimulates impressive productivity gains by promoting growth, especially of bigger, deeper roots.
2022 was the fifth year in a row Stoller contracted Gaia Consulting, an independent agronomy firm, to grow small plot trials to test Stimulate on Russet Burbank potatoes.
This year’s results are by far the best results of all five trial years, even despite the late seeding conditions. We saw a benefit of 32.7 cwt/acre in total yield in treated versus untreated acres. The results were even better in marketable yield (tubers over four ounces), where our treated plots showed an average benefit of 40.4 cwt/acre over untreated.
Averaged across all five years of trialing, Stimulate-treated plots showed a marketable yield benefit of 23.3 cwt/acre over untreated acres, which works out to an ROI of 7.6:1 based on an $12.50/cwt market value. For seed yield (tubers under 10oz), treated plots showed an average benefit of 16.4 cwt/acre, a 7.3:1 ROI based on a $17.00/cwt seed market value.
While slightly better growing conditions in 2022 meant Stimulate offered nearly twice as much benefit when compared to 2021, the numbers show Stimulate still paid for itself (and then some) in 2021’s ultra-hot and dry conditions.
Stimulate can be added into a regular fungicide or foliar fertilizer tank mix with no compatibility issues. Ideally it should be applied multiple times (we recommend a minimum of three) throughout the growing season to support ongoing growth momentum. Timing is flexible but most producers apply Stimulate every seven to 14 days in tank with their typical fungicide application. For the purposes of the small plot study, Gaia Consulting applied Stimulate at a rate of 200 ml/acre starting at tuber initiation, at 14 days after initiation, and at 28 days after initiation, for a total of three applications.
Though I am a proud potato guy now, my background is grain farming. If a product existed that could deliver 12.6:1 ROI in a grain field, it would spread from acre to acre like wildfire. I’ve learned that new product uptake takes longer in potatoes, but I’m pleased to see Stimulate catching on amongst growers now. Not only is that good news for growers’ bank accounts, but good news for agriculture’s overall sustainability too. We need to produce more product with less land, less inputs, less environmental impact, and Stimulate is proving a big step in that direction.