Sep 23, 2014
Home| Tools| Events| Blogs| Discussions Sign UpLogin

Bean Booster

July 27, 2013
By: Rhonda Brooks, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
Great looking beans 070811

Soybean inoculants increase nodulation and fix nitrogen 

Weather extremes at planting, such as too little or too much moisture, are a sign your soybean crop might benefit from a commercial inoculant, a biological product made of living microorganisms called rhizobia.

Rhizobia help soybeans boost nodulation and fix nitrogen, says Russ Berndt, legumes and northern crops product manager with Becker Underwood, now part of BASF. "This leads to a more robust root structure, better nitrogen fixation and more yield potential," Berndt explains.

He estimates 50% of soybean seed in the U.S. is treated with a commercial inoculant, and that’s trending up.

Arthur, Ill., farmer Cory Green saw a return on investment from seed inoculant in 2012, despite the historic drought that plagued the Midwest.

"We saw a 1-bu.- to 2-bu.-per-acre yield increase," says Cory, who owns Heritage Family Farms with his brother, Justin, and dad, Mike.

The Greens have used an inoculant on seed beans the past three years. Their strategy is to use one on early planted soybeans and in soybeans after continuous corn. "That’s when we see the best yield results," Cory reports.

A yield increase of 2 bu. to 3 bu. per acre from an inoculant is common under either of those scenarios, he says, based on side-by-side comparisons of treated versus untreated seed.

The Greens do not use an inoculant for soybeans strictly planted in a corn–soybean rotation. "That’s not to say you shouldn’t, but we haven’t seen enough yield to justify it," Cory says.

Vince Davis, University of Wisconsin cropping systems Extension specialist, says a 1-bu.-per-acre yield increase from inoculant use is common. "With beans at $13 per bushel and a $2 to $4 per acre cost [for the inoculant], it takes very little yield benefit to pay for itself," he says.

Nodes for nitrogen. Inoculants also offer benefits beyond yield, Berndt notes. Well-nodulated soybeans produce an average nitrogen credit of 40 lb. per acre. This nitrogen is in the soil, in a highly stable form, and available for use by the next year’s crop.

The potential payoff from a soybean inoculant increases in one or more of these five scenarios,

according to Iowa State University Extension research:

Previous 1 2 3 Next

See Comments

FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Seed Guide 2013
RELATED TOPICS: Soybeans, Crops, Inputs

Log In or Sign Up to comment


No comments have been posted



Receive the latest news, information and commentary customized for you. Sign up to receive the AgWeb Daily eNewsletter today!.

Enter Zip Code below to view live local results:
The Home Page of Agriculture
© 2014 Farm Journal, Inc. All Rights Reserved|Web site design and development by|Site Map|Privacy Policy|Terms & Conditions