Good Science, Great Harvests

Dan Poston July 1, 2019

Dan Poston - 2-2

Dan Poston, Director of Agronomy, Pivot Bio, observing roots out in the field in Delaware. In sandy soils, nitrogen can be carried away by extreme weather; Pivot Bio PROVEN™ keeps that nitrogen at the plant root. You can see his field report here.


 

I joined Pivot Bio after spending a decade each working for a land grand university and a large multinational seed company. Pivot Bio intrigued me not only by the fact that its product is a living organism, but also by the opportunity to be a part of a team that translates good science into great harvests.  As director of agronomy at Pivot Bio, I see my team as the decoder ring to the field, taking all of the exceptional science that we do and integrating it into on-farm practice. 

When I work with a farmer, I start by trying to understand their current production practices. We assess their current practices together, identifying the spaces where there’s a need for a new tool to stabilize yield or improve nutrient availability. Often, farmers are doing everything they can, using the best tools available to them to grow their crops. My job is to understand how a new tool, like Pivot Bio PROVEN™ fits into their current operation. 

It’s raining in Iowa today, but the past few days have been clear enough to go dig roots and look for examples of Pivot Bio PROVEN™ making a difference in the field.  We’re seeing clear differences in many locations, all the way from emergence to height differences later in the growing season. Check out my recent video about some of the differences I saw in Iowa. Here in the southeast, it’s not just the sandy soils that are showing better nutrient status. In saturated fields where the nitrogen is more likely to denitrify than to leach out, the daily dose of nitrogen from Pivot Bio PROVEN™ is counteracting some of that nutrient stress. 

The opportunity to work closely with a biological product has challenged me to think differently about the way we provide plant nutrition. With Pivot Bio PROVEN™, nutrients are produced daily at the root of the crop instead of being delivered all at once to the surrounding soil. This means farmers don’t have to worry about this nitrogen source becoming nitrous oxide, nitrates, or nitrogen gas before it ever reaches the plant roots. It also means growers can rely on the nitrogen produced by Pivot Bio PROVEN™ to potentially replace some of the synthetic nitrogen in their current system and possibly eliminate a trip across the field.

We already know that a lot of pre-plant nitrogen is lost to weather before seeds even go in the ground. I think Pivot Bio PROVEN™ has the potential to not only reduce nitrogen loads in fall applications, but to make a difference in the way growers apply nutrients in-season. It’s exciting to be in a place where I can help grow a company and a product with the best interests of farmers in mind.

Between you and me, I’m just as excited for the opportunity to go after the deep scientific questions that help us better understand these nitrogen producing microbes.   The roots I dug today go back to the laboratory for testing, teaching us more about where Pivot Bio PROVEN™ fits into a well managed corn operation. Each gain in scientific knowledge becomes a recommendation for farmers out in the field.

I’ve been blessed in all my career roles to dive deep into the best way to farm. Agronomy helps piece together parts from many different areas of expertise - chemistry, biology, technology, economics - to help the farmer develop the best production system for their land. I’m pleased to be working with good people, good data, and good science to ensure Pivot Bio PROVEN™ seamlessly complements grower practices across the country.