Eden Bioscience Corporation announced that field corn yield increases averaging about 7 bushels an acre were reported by farms in the ProAct Partnership with the National Corn Growers Association in 2005, and that the program will be continued in 2006. The data summary was presented March 4 during the Commodity Classic here.

Eden Bioscience develops, manufactures and markets innovative, natural protein-based products for improving plant health and vigor. NCGA urged members to try 10- or 20-acre trials of ProAct in 2005 to better determine its impact on corn growth and yield under a variety of conditions and commercial crop management systems. ProAct at 0.5-oz/acre or 1-oz/acre was included with the first application of the grower's standard herbicide program on the treated acres. Every aspect was the same on the untreated acres except no ProAct was used.

"There were 137 locations for the field demonstrations, and results were returned from 62 fields in 12 states," Dr. Ned French, Eden Bioscience Director of Field Biology and Development, told the Commodity Classic audience. "The central Corn Belt states of IA, IL, NE, MN, MO, OH, and KY accounted for 56 of the locations, which was 90% of them. Other states represented in the trials included TX, TN, WA, NC, and SC.

"These results are consistent with the average of 8 bu/acre during three years of replicated and commercial trials between 2003 and 2005," noted Dr. French. "This yield response represents a return on investment of about 5 to 1.

"In most of our previous research, ProAct was applied along with early glyphosate applications. But our ProAct Partners achieved equal or sometimes better yield increases with many different herbicide programs. These active ingredients included sulfonylurea, dicamba, atrazine, and mesotrione alone or in combination with other herbicides."

Mike Cloutier, Eden Bioscience Director of Sales and Marketing, said the Partnership Program will be extended this season so that more growers can participate. Growers will be provided the ProAct without charge. Growers are asked to follow an easy protocol for their test acres and applications, maintain an untreated check plot, and collect certain yield and crop management data.

"Many ProAct Partners told us they want to run their demonstrations again, particularly those who were unable to gather the data due to weather or equipment problems," said Cloutier. "Other growers who visited with us at the Classic expressed keen interest in participating for the first time this year."

Cloutier said the 2006 demonstrations will emphasize one application of ProAct at the 0.5-oz/acre rate with the first post-emergence herbicide pass, typically at the V3 to V6 stage of plant development. Participating growers are urged to involve their crop advisers and consultants in the ProAct trials to document growing conditions and product responses throughout the season.

Dr. French explained that ProAct increases yield by activating plant growth and self-defense systems, resulting in increased root mass, vigor, ability to tolerate adverse weather and other stresses, and improved overall plant health.

The active ingredient in ProAct and other Harp-N-Tek products is harpin protein, which is produced by disease-causing bacteria that attack plants. Harp-N-Tek products do not contain pathogens, but cause the plant to respond as though being attacked, Dr. French said. Harpin proteins do not enter the plant. They bind with the plant's external harpin protein receptors. This turns on the plant's natural self-defense and growth systems. Then the harpin proteins harmlessly disintegrate.

ProAct is not a restricted-use product. It is easy to apply, has an excellent safety profile, and leaves no residuals in the water, soil or on plants.

Growers may phone the Eden Bioscience customer service desk at 888-552-5976 for more information about ProAct and other Harp-N-Tek(TM) products, or go online to www.edenbio.com.

Source: Eden Bioscience Corporation