Others are skeptical that Naturals can work for them, or they don’t yet understand how to maximize a return from their use. The top concerns with any change in an operation are how simple it is to implement and whether that change will help maximize returns. Most products within the Hefty Naturals portfolio have a fit for specific timings or incorporation methods. In many cases, most Naturals products can be simply added to an already-occurring herbicide or fungicide application.

In corn, three products are at the forefront: Nutri-Shield, MegaGro, and Nutex EDA.

Nutri-Shield is a talc-based planter box option that you can incorporate living microbes right into your planter box. An ounce of Nutri-Shield per unit of corn seed adds billions of colony-forming units of bacteria and fungi right to the seed. When seed begins the germination process and roots begin to break the seed coat, the strains of bacteria and fungi within Nutri-Shield are ready and waiting to break down available nutrients for the root system to bring in.

When you are making your herbicide pass foliar on corn, adding 2 ounces of MegaGro to your application adds a plant growth hormone package to help the plant metabolize the chemistry applied. With less of a need for your crop to spend energy working through herbicide, it can apply more energy for critical plant processes.

If you are making a fungicide pass, 8 ounces of Nutex EDA is an easy addition to the tank mix. Nutex EDA does two things within plants. First, it opens plant stomata to help with respiration. Then, it acts as a transport tool to move nutrients from the root zone to areas of the plant where they are needed most.

For less than $20 an acre, all three of these products can be added to applications you’re already making. If new crop corn is $5.50 per bushel, you need less than 4 bushels to break even and less than 10 bushels to triple your investment. Our extensive research shows adding MegaGro to herbicide applications gains more than 5 bushels; adding Nutex EDA to the fungicide pass gains an average of 10.5 bushels; and putting Nutri-Shield in the planter box gives a return of more than 5 bushels to the acre. So, your odds of capturing the 10 bushels needed for a 3:1 ROI is strong in each of these products, and odds are excellent that one of the three individual applications will gain yield.

In soybeans, we start with Hefty Compete Seed Treatment.

With many farmers planting soybeans earlier into cooler soils, adding a seed treatment to soybeans is a critical decision. With Hefty Complete, you get four fungicides, an insecticide, an inoculant (plus an extender) with some of the highest counts of bacteria in the industry, 26 nutrient solubilizers in Nutri-Cycle, and six fungi strains in Heat Shield. This complete package protects soybeans against yield-robbing pathogens and insects and adds bacteria and fungi plants need to solubilize nutrients in the root zone. Protecting plants and helping them emerge faster with stronger stand establishment is important for early season success.

Like in corn, adding MegaGro to the herbicide pass speeds up how soybeans metabolize herbicide, and Nutex EDA brings benefits when added to the fungicide pass. These three products run less than $25 an acre. With $13.50 new crop soybeans, you need less than 2 bushels to pay for the total treatments; to gain a 3:1 ROI, you need less than 6 bushels. In 2022, Hefty Complete averaged 2.7 bushels better than untreated soybeans, MegaGro added to the herbicide pass gained 2.4 bushels, adding Nutex EDA gained 2.4 bushels. Applying three separate products at three separate timings also spreads your risk of the program not performing, giving you a great opportunity to capture additional yield for minimal expense.

Finally, if you’re a wheat grower, Cereal NS+, Boost 10, and Nutex EDA are simple to incorporate into your operation.

Cereal NS+ is similar to Nutri-Shield but built for cereal grain crops, and it carries a higher talc concentration to help with seed coverage on small cereal seeds. Adding biology right into the planter box helps with early season stand establishment and plant vigor, and Cereal NS+ becomes active in the root zone to help plants solubilize soil nutrients.

Boost 10 is an amino acid product that assists during the green-up stage. Amino acids are building blocks for plant proteins. Wheat typically comes out of dormancy during non-favorable weather conditions, so jumpstarting photosynthesis with these amino acids helps wheat achieve green-up more quickly. Greener wheat captures more sunlight, helping the plant process sugars and carbohydrates.

Adding Nutex EDA to your fungicide application is easy, as well. Just like any other crop, Nutex EDA helps with plant stomata and with transporting nutrients from the root zone into where the plant needs it most.

These three products run around $15 an acre altogether. With new crop wheat at $7.75, you need just over 2 bushels to break even and just over 6 bushel to gain a 3:1 ROI. Of all crops discussed, wheat is the one needing the least amount of bushels to pay.

For Naturals products to be successful, they must be consistent, show ROI, and be relatively simple to integrate into your operation. In corn, soybeans, and wheat, the programs I described above meet all these criteria. It’s understandable that you may want to only try one new product, but where most of these Naturals are priced, it makes sense to make a program out of them if they can demonstrate the gains needed to pay for themselves. If you’re new to Naturals products or have been skeptical about them, reach out to any of our Hefty agronomists, as growers have put them on millions of acres in the U.S. each year by simply adding them to a herbicide application or a fungicide pass. If they didn’t provide consistent performance and ROI while being simple to implement, they wouldn’t be on as many acres and growing so quickly in their adoption across the market!