Skip to main content

You are here

Practical Lessons on Inoculation

Posted: Nov 26, 2021

Growers are well into the planning process for the 2022 crop and with harvest complete it’s time to evaluate last year’s input purchases to ensure you made the most out of your budget. 

Inoculants are often not top of mind during this process, but they are a critical component in pulse and soybean production as a poor nodulation can’t be corrected in-season and can devastate a crop’s yield potential.

A Numbers Game

When it comes to ensuring good nodulation, numbers matter; more specifically viable rhizobia available at the time of planting and first possibility of nodulation matters a lot.  Rhizobia come in many types of inoculants and are even leftover in the soil after a previous crop. Lower quality inoculants and background populations in the soil are more susceptible to losses from everyday stresses, meaning you may not have the numbers you need when it matters most. 

This risk is increased on fields that experience flooding or drought.  Rhizobia are a living organism that need oxygen and water to survive and successfully nodulate the crop. Flooding and saturated soils cause bacteria to drown from lack of oxygen and during drought like we experienced this past season bacteria dry out and die.

Don’t Hesitate - Inoculate

Nitrogen fixation from pulse and soybean crops is an increasingly valuable resource with fertilizer costs on the rise.  A 50 bushel pea crop requires 130 lbs/ac of nitrogen and a 50 lb soybean crop requires 200 lbs/ac but because these crops are effective nitrogen fixers in combination with rhizobia, they do not require nitrogen fertilizer application.  A nodulation failure risks potentially losing hundreds of dollars per acre in nitrogen value and potential yield, which makes inoculants a sound investment that reduces production risk. 

It’s always best to inoculate seed as close to planting as possible to maintain rhizobia viability and using a good quality product ensures it will remain viable under tough conditions or if seeding is delayed for any reason. 

Consider double inoculating fields that have experienced flooding or drought and in fields with little recent cropping history of the same pulse or soybean crop type.  This is best done by applying two different inoculant formulations like a liquid on-seed plus a granular in-furrow to provide a higher number of rhizobia in two different placements to ensure robust nodulation even under tough conditions.   

For more inoculant insights and advice, contact your BrettYoung Regional Account Manager.

Recent BY PLUS notes

Welcome Justine Cornelsen

Posted: Jan 17, 2022

It’s a new year, and we’re very excited to welcome a new member to our team here at BrettYoung.

Justine Cornelsen has come on board as our Agronomic and Regulatory Services Manager. You may already recognize Justine’s name from her time with the Canola Council of Canada where she worked for nearly eight years as an Agronomy Specialist.  Justine has also had a presence in some of our previous editions of BY PLUS notes as a canola management expert.

Learn More >

Grower Review: Perennial Ryegrass

Posted: Jan 17, 2022

Paul Mcintosh, owner of Mcintosh Farm in Lac du Bonnet, admits there were some anxious moments on his farm during the summer of 2021. Aside from the odd sprinkle, the region received no significant rainfall between June 12 and Aug. 12 — he can’t recall many summers as dry as the one that just passed.

Learn More >

Farming is a Team Effort, and so is Mental Health

Posted: Jan 12, 2022

With Lesley Kelly

Mental health is an under-discussed topic in the agriculture industry. Farm related stress, isolation and anxiety can run high, especially during the pandemic, and many growers may not be giving themselves the attention and self-care they need.

Learn More >