Soybean Checkoff-Funded Bio-YIELD® Named 2021 AE50 Award Winner

January 18, 2021 Ohio Soybean Council

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has named Bio-YIELD® from 3Bar Biologics winner of a 2021 AE50 award. AE50 awards honor the year’s most innovative designs in engineering products or systems for the food and agriculture industries.

Bio-YIELD, whose development was funded in part by the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff, is a bioreactor device that enables farmers to grow their own beneficial microbes, allowing increased crop yield with reduced chemical inputs. This approach addresses one of the most significant sustainability challenges of our time: to increase agricultural production while reducing use of resources and impact on climate.

“We are thrilled to see a technology that was funded with Ohio soybean checkoff dollars win such a prestigious and internationally recognized award,” said Todd Hesterman, OSC research committee chair and Henry County soybean farmer. “The checkoff’s investment in technologies like Bio-YIELD continues to generate products that allow farmers to grow soybeans in a more environmentally conscious and profitable way.”

Agricultural inoculants, also known as beneficial microorganisms, are applied in the field to promote plant health and growth. Most commercial inoculants are selected based on their ability to survive the delivery supply chain, rather than their in-field performance, which limits the system’s potential effectiveness. The Bio-YIELD bioreactor is activated on-farm, so it delivers fresher, more viable microbes than competitor processes. The system opens the commercialization potential of numerous beneficial, naturally occurring microbes that have been proven effective in laboratories but have never been available commercially in a viable state.

“Agricultural biologics have always been inconsistent,” explains Barry McGraw, OSC’s director of product development and commercialization. “Inoculants contain living organisms, which can be touchy—they normally require an experienced and delicate hand. With Bio-YIELD, farmers don’t have to moonlight as microbiologists to get optimal outcomes. OSC applauds our partner 3Bar Biologics, and if I may speak for 3Bar, we are all honored by ASABE’s recognition of Bio-YIELD and its role in the next generation of farming.”

To learn more about other checkoff-funded technologies being developed by the Ohio Soybean Council at Airable Research Lab, visit