A new publication from the AHDB considers biostimulants and their potential for use in UK cereal and oilseed rape production. The term “biostimulants” covers anything added to a plant or soil to stimulate natural processes and benefit crops, excluding fertilising or pesticidal actions.

ADHD’s new publication, which is entitled Crop Biostimulants, is available from cereals.ahdb.org.uk/biostimulants. Crop Biostimulants is based on a review the AHDB issued in 2016. The new publication examines the terminology surrounding biostimulants, their beneficial potential and product types, and also outlines how to get the best results from biostimulants. In addition, it reminds users to check whether their supply chain has placed any restrictions on the use of biostimulants, as a limited number of biostimulants are derived from mammalian tissue by-products. Growers are advised to check the latest edition of the Fresh Product Standards, published by Red Tractor, for further information.

Dr Sajjad Awan, who manages natural resources work at the AHDB, comments: “Many growers are intrigued by biostimulants and our review shows some products have potential for use within crop production systems. The market for biostimulants is expanding globally and the European Commission is exploring options to regulate them. The regulations should help ensure products meet minimum safety and environmental requirements. It will also mean, importantly, that label claims are backed up by product efficacy data.

“Our publication provides an invaluable background to biostimulants, to help people judge which, if any, biostimulants could benefit their crops.”