The Value of Protected Enzyme Technology
Below the surface of our fields is a vast network of organisms, each with a unique role to play in the life of our soil. As with the human body, all living organisms need enzymes to function properly. Enzymes are biological catalysts of chemical reactions such as digestion in animals and the breakdown of organic matter in the soil. As more farmers search for environmentally friendly ways to boost production, enzyme-based products are showing tremendous promise.
In trials across the Midwest since 2018, Helena has averaged a 4 bushel per acre yield advantage and 75 percent win rate in corn and soybeans with protected enzymes from Zypro. It’s an improvement Dr. Greg Willoughby, Helena Technical Service Manager based in Indiana, credits to the benefits of applying Zypro’s stabilized enzymes in-furrow or as close to the seed as possible.
“What you’re going to see out of it is a larger root mass, better emergence, standability and early-season vigor, and more phosphorus moving into the plant,” says Dr. Willoughby.
Root growth is key in setting the tone for the season. From accessing water to pulling in more nutrients, the better they start, the more effective root systems are at feeding the growing crop. Having a higher concentration of nutrients further into the season leads to higher yields, making it vital to increase the amount of phosphorus (P) around the root zone early, according to Dr. Willoughby.
“The first thing the crop does with phosphorus is push it to expand root mass,” says Dr. Willoughby. “By making phosphorus more available through the phospholipase enzyme in Zypro, we’re achieving more root growth because it's releasing more P into the root zone.”
This activity provides an excellent way for farmers using a manure system to take full advantage of the organic phosphorus they’re applying. In conventional fertilizer systems, Dr. Willoughby suggests a proper starter, with a strong source of zinc in corn, plus Zypro. He says the benefits of protected enzymes extend beyond just corn and soybean acres to crops like potatoes and sugar beets as well. Just remember, it’s the formulation that matters.
“If you were to apply normal enzymes to the soil environment, they would last up to a week at most,” says Brad Hammes, Helena Product Specialist based in Iowa. “What sets Zypro apart is the VersaShield Formulation Technology that extends the benefits of the enzymes.”
VersaShield Formulation Technology stabilizes the enzymes in Zypro, protecting them in the harsh soil environment and keeping them active in the soil for up to 60 days after application. It also improves mixing and handling, something that’s difficult for other biological products like microbials.
“You're going to apply a microbial product probably when you plant, and you're going to hope that the environment or whatever you tank mixed it with isn't killing it,” says Hammes.
Instead, Hammes opts for the consistency of Zypro, which also works to increase the native microbial population in the soil rather than introducing a non-native organism that is likely not be well adapted to the environment. In a line of work filled with unpredictability, a technology that inspires confidence goes a long way for farmers.
“They can rest assured that if they get rained out, they're not going to have issues with mixing or filters being plugged,” says Steve Bailie, Helena Product Manager based in Wisconsin.
He encourages farmers to test the technology in their own field and compare root system development versus the untreated. In corn, this should happen around V5. Then, continue feeding the crop appropriately, because even though a powerful factory is built, the season is only just beginning.
To add stabilized enzymes from Zypro to your fertility program this year, contact your local Helena representative.