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Sponsored: Do Starter Additives Pay?

As farmers prepare for a new planting season, they seek new ways to improve seedling growth to maximize their yield potential. In-furrow technologies such as starter fertilizers, micronutrients, seed treatments, and fungicide and insecticide applications are one way to nourish seedlings at their most vulnerable state. And because these in-furrow technologies provide crops with nutrients and protection during those early growth stages, farmers can plant earlier knowing their crop is set up for season-long success.

Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® team has conducted a number of in-furrow studies which you can read about here and here.

In 2016, the team at the Kentucky PFR Site tested two products on two different hybrids compared to a starter only application. MicroAZ-IF Liquid™, a starter additive from TerraMax, significantly outperformed the control on both hybrids tested.

MicroAZ-IF Liquid contains a plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria called Azospirillum. Azospirilla are surface-colonizing bacteria that are known for their positive plant root interaction and nitrogen fixing capabilities which, in this study, provided a generous increase in return on investment (ROI) despite the wet conditions the site experienced.

Compared against the control, MicroAZ-IF Liquid provided an average ROI advantage of $26.23/A. and a yield increase of 8.4 Bu./A.

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At the Central Indiana site, Beck’s PFR team tested Puma and Generate® against a control on two different hybrids but the yields and ROI were not quite as impressive. Generate resulted in an average increase of 1.6 Bu./A. across both hybrids. Despite the increase in yield however, both products tested resulted in a negative ROI, further proving that more bushels do not always mean more money in your pocket.

The PFR team will continue testing starter additive products in the future to determine if they are economically beneficial for your farm.


Beck’s PFR is the largest source of unbiased, cutting-edge agronomic information in the industry. More than 110 different studies were conducted in 2016, comparing over 150 products across multiple locations to learn how different management practices and new technologies perform in field environments. In evaluating agronomic practices and input products, not comparing seed products, Beck’s PFR aims to help farmers maximize their input dollars and increase their bottom line. To view more studies from the 2016 PFR book, click here.

Practical Farm Research (PFR)® is a registered trademark of Beck’s Superior Hybrids Inc. MicroAZ-IF Liquid™ is a trademark of TerraMax Inc. Generate® is a registered trademark of Agnition.

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