Wet Fall Equals Greater Need For Soybean Inoculants

“We had a very, very wet fall and rhizobial bacteria do not survive wet conditions well at all,” says Jim Beuerlein, retired Ohio State University extension agronomist and technical advisor to inoculant manufacturer Becker Underwood. “And, I’ve already seen some long-range forecasts for a wetter-than-normal spring planting season.

“Those factors lead me to believe there will be a good response to the use of soybean inoculants, or enhanced soybean treatments that contain a rhizobial component, this year,” Beuerlein says. “We always expect a positive response to inoculants, but these abnormally wet conditions across the Corn Belt will likely result in a greater response than usual.”

The process of inoculation is the application of commercially available rhizobia bacteria to the seed or into soil where a legume, such as soybeans, will be planted. Rhizobia are the key active ingredient in most legume inoculant products.

The presence of rhizobia is necessary for a legume to be able to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form usable by the plant. This process is referred to as nitrogen fixation.

Beuerlein has evaluated rhizobial inoculants in hundreds of field trials over many years and reports an average yield increase of 1.94 bushels per acre for inoculated seed. “Of course, we saw premium quality products which did much better than this average, and some questionable products that showed little or no advantage,” Beuerlein says.

“Most evaluations are performed in fields that essentially offer optimum growing conditions for soybeans – fields planted to a corn/soybean rotation – and we’ve still seen an average yield advantage of nearly two bushels per acre,” Beuerlein says. “In many instances, I believe soybean growers could see even better results in their own fields, especially when using a quality product that provides high rhizobia counts.”

Beuerlein offers the following tips for soybean growers considering the use of a soybean inoculant, or enhanced soybean treatments containing a rhizobial component, in 2010. “Give the product a try in a side-by-side comparison and be sure to keep the evaluation honest,” he says. “Have a professional apply the product so the beans are uniformly treated at the correct rate. It’s very easy to either over-apply or under-apply which can create planting problems or failure to achieve the expected response.”

A second important step, Beuerlein says, is to plant the beans soon after treatment. Viability of the rhizobia on the seed will vary by product used and any other chemical treatments applied to the seed. “Planting within 35 or 40 days of treatment is usually fine,” he says, “but growers need to follow the recommendations provided by the inoculant manufacturer or seed treater, and the seed should always be stored in a cool, dry place until ready to plant.”

Scott McKee, a soybean grower from Hawarden, Iowa, was a first-time soybean inoculant user in 2009. He participated in an inoculant yield challenge program sponsored by Becker Underwood. The experiment, he says, proved very worthwhile.

“We like to try different things to see how they impact yield. We always need to be experimenting and I think the Vault LVL soybean inoculant we used did make a difference.”

McKee planted four trials covering a variety of soil types and topography. The Vault LVL soybean inoculant-treated plots yielded an average 4 bushels-per-acre more than the untreated. Each field had been in corn in 2008.

“The treated beans were greener, looked healthier and seemed to have more vigor at emergence,” McKee says. “I’d never used an inoculant before, but it seems like more people now are. It was definitely worthwhile to do and I know we’ll use an inoculant again this year.”

Ken Koenig, Sandborn, Indiana, also participated in the Vault LVL Yield Challenge in 2009 and reported a 6 bushel-per-acre advantage for the inoculant-treated plot compared to the untreated.

“We had an awfully wet spring,” Koenig says. “We planted the untreated beans first, then got delayed by rain and didn’t plant the inoculant-treated beans until a week later.”

Koenig says his seed dealer treated the beans and ran the harvest check through a weigh wagon. He calls the yield boost impressive as the trial location was “certainly not our prime ground. And, with soybeans at $10 a bushel, that extra yield really makes a difference.”

“Return on investment for inoculation is excellent,” Beuerlein says. “At current soybean prices, it only takes about a third of a bushel to break even.”

“Our evaluations have shown that, over time, inoculants deliver a 300 percent to 500 percent return on investment, and they do this over a wide range of soil types and production systems,” Beuerlein says. “To me, soybean inoculants, or enhanced soybean treatments that contain a rhizobial component, like the new Vault HP system from Becker Underwood, are one of the most consistently profitable inputs growers can use in their operations.”

Leave a Reply

Adjuvants Stories

Regulator 3.0 Concentrate
AdjuvantsNew Max Systems Product Aids Irrigation
August 11, 2016
A gentle rainfall is nearly always welcomed by crop producers, including those who rely on irrigation to produce a profitable Read More
Nozzle spray close-up
AdjuvantsWest Central Distribution Introduces New Elite Family Of Adjuvants
July 14, 2016
West Central Distribution recently released a new line of Elite adjuvants to work alongside the new herbicide technologies that combat Read More
Ag Sprayer
AdjuvantsPrecision Laboratories Introduces Intact Xtra For Use With Dicamba-Based Herbicides
June 27, 2016
Precision Laboratories announces the launch of Intact Xtra, an adjuvant designed for applicators who want to maximize spray applications and Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsISAA 2016 Highlights Adjuvant Trends
May 31, 2016
Adjuvants can significantly improve the performance of crop protection products. Farmers and formulators enhance the efficacy of sprays by using Read More
Trending Articles
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Latest News
Growmark FS Outlet
Industry NewsGROWMARK To Purchase Suncor’s Share Of UPI
September 26, 2016
GROWMARK and Suncor have reached an agreement in which GROWMARK will purchase Suncor’s 50% interest in UPI, Inc. in Ontario, Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100California Ag Retailer Steps Up To Feed Families Affect…
September 16, 2016
GAR Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) in Reedley, CA, is challenging the Central Valley to help raise enough money and provide 525,000 meals Read More
Crop InputsBayer, Monsanto CEOs Discuss Merger
September 15, 2016
Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, discuss why they decided to merge their companies. Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsNY Times: Bayer-Monsanto a Bad Deal for Farmers
September 15, 2016
Via NY Times: Don Halcomb, a 63-year-old farmer in Adairville, KY, is expecting his profit to vanish this year, largely Read More