Help Drought Stressed Corn Yield More

In its first year of commercial launch, Indigo Corn is showing stellar yield advantages in drought stressed areas. The company, Indigo Ag, Inc., recently released preliminary harvest data from this microbial seed treatment.

Indigo corn uses naturally-occurring plant microbes that it says helps increase plant productivity by improving water stress tolerance. The product data was gathered from commercial fields in Kansas, Indiana and Ohio. The greatest yield advantage was in Kansas where water was scarcer.

“With a little rain during our community’s growing season, corn yields have been low this year, around 80 bu. per acre,” says Tom Clayman, president of Kauffman Seeds, Inc., that partnered with Indigo in Kansas. “Farmers growing Indigo Corn were protected with yields well over 100 bu. per acre.”

In Kansas, Indigo corn showed an average productivity increase of 45% or 32 bu. per acre. The area in which this data was gathered was under considerable water stress and only received 5” of rain, compared to the historical average of 11” of rain. Yield increases were compared to “control” groups, or corn grown in adjacent fields without microbial treatment.

indigo corn

Under better growing conditions where farmers experienced more rainfall Indigo Corn showed no yield advantage over the control. In areas of moderate, not extreme like Kansas, stress the product showed a 4% yield improvement over the control.

Farmers who choose to grow Indigo corn may also have the opportunity for a $0.47 per bu. premium in 2018—those participating will enter into a crop production contract through the company. Indigo says the corn will be sold to buyers who want detailed information about the way the crop was grown and are willing to pay a premium for that information.