Phosphate Inoculant

The world’s first phosphate inoculant, discovered by scientists working at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research facility in Lethbridge, Alberta, was refined in a Saskatoon laboratory and marketed under the brand name of JumpStart. Philom Bios was established in 1981 to collaborate with the federal agriculture research scientists and then commercialize the phosphate inoculant for use by farmers. An inoculant is a live micro-organism which, when added to the soil or applied to the seed, gives growing plants access to important nutrients like nitrogen and phosphate. Field tests by Philom Bios have shown an average yield increase of about $9.81 more profit per acre on cereal grains, oilseeds and pulses; in 2003, this translated into a $30 million increase in net profit for prairie farmers. JumpStart, a safe method of supplying phosphate to growing plants, reduces the need to place high rates of fertilizer phosphate near sensitive seeds such as canola, peas, and lentils. The active ingredient in JumpStart is the naturally occurring soil fungus Penicillium bilaii, which grows on plant roots and makes less available forms of residual soil phosphate immediately available for crop use.

Joe Ralko