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Where are the Bio-Test Plots?

As the use of biological methods becomes more widespread and common, it seems odd to me that our state agricultural university researchers are not doing more to further knowledge about this topic. After all, if there are ways of growing our food crops with far less fertilizer and water, while building up soil health instead of depleting it, plus cutting back on the contamination of drinking water aquifers, shouldn't that call for some fairly intensive study? If not, why not?

Where are the side-by-side test plots comparing plant performance when grown with chemical-based inputs versus biology-based techniques? Where are the rows of different vegetable varieties being tested and selected for the best response to mycorrhizal fungi and other microbial plant boosters? Where are the more than 100 (so-far) named types of mycorrhizal fungi being compared for their effects on converting deserts or marginal soils to productive croplands?

Yes, I am aware of a few tests being conducted here and there, but for an issue of this potential importance it just seems odd that most bio-research is confined to pots in greenhouses, followed by yet another report written in researchese in an academic journal. A search of the word "mycorrhizae" will uncover dozens of these weighty discourses, but note how few, if any, were actually conducted in real-world dirt on real-world farms. Also, side-by-side comparisons of differing fungi types matched with differing plants are virtually nonexistent, even though it is widely recognized that some fungi can have dramatic effects in specific situations, like salty soil, while others have no effect.

And, yes, I know that testing costs money, and I know that money for Ag university trials comes largely from major chemical corporations, and that such corporations are unlikely to look kindly on research that might diminish the need for their fertilizer products. That's just the way the system is set up - there's oodles of cash handouts to find better and better chemical approaches to growing crops, and virtually nothing designated for developing powerful biological alternatives.

In the past, I've made the offer to provide inoculants for well-designed biological grow-tests if they are to be conducted outside of laboratory environments, but so far have not had much interest from researchers. I've been told that grant money must accompany such offers, but smaller businesses like ours don't have such funds in our budget. Seems to me that some government bucks could be spent on this, but probably "bridges to nowhere" have to come first, eh?

(I keep trying my best to fight off that sort of cynical dig, but sometimes weaken - sorry.)

Cheers, and good growing my friends,

Don Chapman
President, BioOrganics, Inc.

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