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Pivot Bio offers N-producing microbe for grain sorghum

The company’s in-furrow product, Return, is available for 2021.

Grain sorghum prices are fetching a premium, and High Plains farmers may turn to that crop as an alternative to dryland corn production in 2021. 

A new microbial product from Pivot Bio could help them maximize nitrogen efficiency if they do. 

Pivot Bio Return is a nitrogen-producing microbe which, applied in-furrow during planting, attaches to sorghum plant roots, taking nitrogen from the air and turning it into ammonia, continually feeding nitrogen to the plant throughout the growing season.

The microbes create a symbiotic relationship with the plant, delivering a reliable and consistent supply of nitrogen, says Mark Reisinger, vice president of commercial operations for Pivot Bio. 

“Instead of applying all our nitrogen early and risking the potential of losing it through leaching or denitrification, Pivot Bio Return’s microbes attach to the roots of the sorghum plant where they stay all season long, supplying nitrogen on a daily basis,” he explains. 

When Mother Nature gives farmers the opportunity for a good crop, Pivot Bio Return gives them crop management flexibility, says Matt Bornhorst, regional sales leader for Pivot Bio. 

“No two soils are the same. Nitrogen is the limiting factor,” he explains. “Our nitrogen doesn’t leach and doesn’t denitrify and that’s key, because nitrogen is one of the biggest expenses farmers have in crop production,” he explains.  

At the full use rate, Pivot Bio Return delivers the equivalent of 25 pounds of synthetic nitrogen per acre. In field trials, that gave sorghum producers a 4.1-bushel-per-acre advantage, and a 71% “win” rate. The key for Return is that it provides nitrogen to plant roots each day throughout the growing season, so that nitrogen is not the crop’s limiting factor. 

Growers using Pivot Bio Return must apply the product in-furrow with the seed at planting, because the Return microbes feed on sorghum plant root exudates. Those microbes combine with oxygen, turn into ammonia, and thus feed the plant. 

The use rate is just ounces per acre, based on the number of rows farmers have per acre, Bornhorst adds. 

For 2021, Pivot Bio offers a Performance Pricing model for farmers who prove they reduced synthetic nitrogen by 25 pounds per acre, and are willing to share yield data with the company. 

“It will be very advantageous to those farmers,” Reisinger says. 

Pivot Bio Return is available for the 2021 growing season in these states:  

  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington

There are several states in which Pivot Bio Return is pending for 2021, including: Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin.

The product is available through the company’s dealer network, or learn more at

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