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

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
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
AdjuvantsOro Agri Launches New ORO HSMSO Adjuvant
March 28, 2016
An increasing number of post-emergent herbicides, key tools in the fight against glyphosate-resistant weeds, are requiring the addition of an Read More
Trending Articles
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Latest News
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Shareholder Proposes Monsanto ‘Host…
July 20, 2016
One of Bayer AG’s top 20 shareholders said Wednesday it may make sense for the life-science company to launch an Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Industry NewsNew Leaf Symbiotics Snags Former Monsanto Microbials Le…
July 20, 2016
NewLeaf Symbiotics, announced today the appointment of Dr. Janne Kerovuo as Vice President for Research and Discovery.  Dr. Kerovuo comes Read More
Corn and ditch
ManagementStudy: Saturated Buffers Reduce Nitrates From Subsurfac…
July 19, 2016
The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC), Agricultural Drainage Management Systems Task Force and Dr. Dan Jaynes with the National Laboratory Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentAgronomists, CCAs, Custom Applicators Invited To FSR Ag…
July 19, 2016
Agronomists, Certified Crop Advisers (CCA) and custom applicators can stay current on agronomy issues on the grounds of the Farm Read More
Soybean Field
LegislationOhio Soybean Association Names Brian Hill Legislator Of…
July 19, 2016
The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has announced that State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) has been named one of two Legislators of Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Latest Monsanto Rumors: A Game Of Tones
July 18, 2016
When companies are engaged in the back-and-forth of the acquisition game, the tone of their various announcements is always important. Read More
Nozzle spray close-up
AdjuvantsWest Central Distribution Introduces New Elite Family O…
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
Bayer sign
Crop InputsBayer Makes New Offer For Monsanto
July 14, 2016
Bayer AG boosted its takeover offer for Monsanto Co. to about $65 billion in a bid to overcome the U.S. Read More
ManagementAn Update on Water
July 14, 2016
CropLife Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matthew Grassi discuss agricultural water issues in conjunction with a recent field trip in Ohio. Read More
Co-Alliance employee
EmployeesNew Purdue Program To Focus On Talent Management
July 14, 2016
Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business is starting a new professional development program to help food and agribusiness Read More
Industry NewsFMC Agricultural Solutions Appoints New Global Regulato…
July 14, 2016
FMC Corp. has named Andy Hedgecock as Global Regulatory Affairs Director for FMC Agricultural Solutions. He joins the company this Read More
Corn Field
Seed/BiotechWhat Can Inoculants Do For You?
July 13, 2016
When it comes to preventing disease and promoting growth in your plants, who couldn’t use a helping hand? By forming Read More
Microbes
Seed/BiotechMighty Farming Microbes: Companies Harness Bacteria To …
July 13, 2016
What if farmers, instead of picking up some agricultural chemicals at their local dealer, picked up a load of agricultural Read More