Soybean Inoculants: The Other Seed Treatment

UT’s standard recommendation is to include an inoculant where soybeans will be planted into fields that have never been planted to soybean or where soybean has not been grown in the field in the past 3 to 5 years.

There are several products on the market that contain a single or even multiple strains of Rhizobium bacteria designed to improve root nodulation and help soybean roots fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into a usable form for the plant.

Since the soybean must make 50 to 75% of its required nitrogen through this process this is pretty important stuff. With the hectic weather this spring creating flooding and instances where lime was not applied timely folks should include an inoculant in the following situations:

  • Flooded fields going to beans. Some data indicates bacteria may live for a few days under flooded conditions but require oxygen to survive long-term. Fields flooded more than a week would definitely need an inoculant. It might also be cheap insurance to inoculate fields that have been under water for 3 or 4 days as well.
  • Fields with low pH (<5.8) or very high pH (>7.0). Bacteria do not reproduce and thrive where pH is out of kilter. Also, in a low pH situation where lime has recently been applied and has not had time to react with soil, consider adding molybdenum to the seed along with the inoculant. We have had mixed results with foliar moly products and I prefer to put it on the seed if possible.
  • Fields with high sand content. We don’t have many of these in TN but some data suggests that a field with low organic matter and high sand content should be inoculated each time it is planted to soybeans.

Which product is right for me? Newer retailer-applied inoculants (Optimize, Vault, Launcher Pro) have replaced the older powder or granular materials for a lot of folks. They cost a little more (around $3.00- $3.50/bag) but are convenient since we don’t have to put them on ourselves the day of planting. Where commercial treatment isn’t an option, peat based products have replace granular materials and can be metered through a hopper box into the furrow with seed (line yours up early- some retailers don’t carry these in supply).

Powder type inoculants are applied to the seed just prior to planting. I think any product will work fine as long as it is applied correctly. We don’t always see yield responses to retailer-applied material over the do-it-yourself products but they are very convenient to use.

Does an inoculant give us Higher Yields?  Not always. In the stress type situations bulleted above you are more likely to see a benefit (i.e. higher yields). However, fields with balanced pH and good fertility that have not been planted to soybeans in recent years also have ‘native’ populations of bacteria that can do what seed inoculants do—create root nodules and fix nitrogen for the soybean. And, in these fields I have seen inconsistent improvement in nodule formation and seed yield compared to untreated checks relying on native bacteria. We have run inoculant studies in long term cotton ground where we would see up to a 4 bushel increase in soybean yield with a product one year and less than 1 bushel increase the following year using the same inoculant in a nearby spot in the same field.

So, returns can be inconsistent on good productive fields. Bottom line: use an inoculant in fields that need one since they are cheap insurance- increased yield is a bonus.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Seed/Biotech Stories

Thunder Seed Grower and dealer
Seed/BiotechSeed Decisions: Balancing Price And Performance
November 1, 2016
Even a cursory glance at headlines covering the seed industry these days could move a reader to an “OMG!” moment. Read More
Soybean field
Crop InputsIncotec Invests In North America
October 25, 2016
Leading seed enhancement company Incotec, part of Croda, has announced an investment in their North America business. The total investment of Read More
Nufarm Seed Treatment lab formulations
Seed/BiotechNew Lab, Company Realignment Strengthen Nufarm’s Position To Serve Seed Treatment Market
October 6, 2016
As part of its “One Nufarm” strategy, Nufarm is realigning and uniting resources to further enhance the focus on its Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer, West Central Distribution Introduce Fungicde Seed Treatment For Soybeans
October 6, 2016
Bayer and West Central Distribution are introducing a new combination fungicide treatment for soybean plants, Redigo 480 + Trilex, to Read More
Trending Articles
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute Issues Statement On The U.S. Elections
November 10, 2016
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn has issued the following statement on the results of the 2016 elections: “TFI Read More
Latest News
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research has announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Inv…
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coop…
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls …
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
FertilizerNutrient Management, Conservation Among Topics Covered …
November 23, 2016
Certified crop advisers, consultants, farmers, agribusiness professionals and students will learn more about nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsa…
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Arysta LifeScience
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Forms Alliance With Beem Biologics
November 21, 2016
As part of its recently announced strategy to become a leader in high-value, high-growth specialty market segments in the crop Read More
DuPont sign
Crop InputsDuPont To End Pension Contribution For Active Employees
November 18, 2016
DuPont will no longer contribute to active employees’ pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 workers, Read More