At every farm show I’ve attended recently, in every ag magazine I’ve skimmed, in conversations across every farm supply counter, I keep hearing one message — the ag industry needs to do more with less. To keep farming viable, we need to produce more product with less land, less inputs, less environmental impact. I’m pretty proud to spend my days working with a product that can do exactly that: offering average return on investment of 5.5 to one, a bump in overall yield of more than 20 cwt per acre, with no additional effort and no environmental downside.
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 Fortified Stimulate Yield Enhancer is a bio-identical version of those three hormones in just the right balance. When foliar applied, Stimulate does what its name implies: it stimulates impressive growth and productivity gains.
Over the past four years, we’ve contracted Gaia Consulting to grow small plot trials across Manitoba to test Stimulate in varying growing conditions on Russet Burbanks. Averaged across the four years, Stimulate-treated plots showed an overall yield benefit of 23.1 cwt per acre over untreated plots. For marketable yield (tubers over four ounce), treated plots showed an average benefit of 18.8 cwt, which works out to an ROI of 5.5 to one based on an $11 market value. For seed yield (tubers under 10 ounce), treated plots showed an average benefit of 19.8 cwt — a whopping 8.5 to one ROI — based on a $16 seed market value.
The best part is Stimulate’s ease of use: you can add it into a regular fungicide or foliar fertilizer tank mix with no compatibility issues. Stimulate is ideally applied multiple times throughout the growing season to support growth momentum. Timing is flexible but most producers apply Stimulate every seven to 14 days. For the purposes of the small plot study, Gaia Consulting applied Stimulate at a rate of 200 millilitres per acre at three times throughout each of the growing seasons, starting at tuber initiation.
While I knew we’d get good yield returns, I was impressed with the consistency of benefit: each of the four years showed notably positive benefit despite very different growing conditions. It’s not surprising: treated plants were much better able to succeed in any conditions because they grow much bigger, deeper roots. Stimulate is a major step towards a more sustainable potato industry.