Friday, October 29, 2010

Why I Inoculate

Today I am trying to explain why I inoculate all my crop seed.

I inoculate legumes with the latest strains of bradyrhizobium.

I inoculate all seeds with the latest strain of trichaderma.

Why do I do that?

The short answer is it makes money. It is very sound biologically but very sound economically. Most agronomists agree that just inoculating your soybeans is a 300% Return on Investment. Spend two bucks, get 10 back.

Often times I get 5 bushel or more soybeans by inoculating the seed so my return is even better.

How does it work biologically? Remember science class and symbiotic relationships? I think LuAnn was talking during those lectures and I was busy taking notes.

Nitrogen is essential to plants

Nitrogen can come from commercial chemical fertilizer, dead plants, animal manure or can be reduced from the air by biological nitrogen fixation

Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF)
Bacteria, either free-living or associative/ symbiotic can reduce nitrogen gas from the air to a biological useful form.

Estimates are that about one-half the earth’s biologically fixed nitrogen comes from free-living sources like Azotobacter and blue-green algae

Legumes and Rhizobium bacteria fix the other one-half of available biologically fixed nitrogen.

Legumes are going to fix N whether I inoculate with fresh rhizobia or not. 100 years of study shows it pays to inoculate by increasing rhizobia production and efficiency.

That is probably enough for today! Later I want to get it into inoculating seed with trichaderma, a different biological process.



  1. Great post, Ed. I also wrote a blog today about inoculant based on the yield trial you sent recently. More dollars and cents than the great lesson you're teaching here but hopefully as effective. Check it out and let me know what you think

  2. Thanks for reading and even blogging on the subject yourself. I left comments on your blog. I always want every bushel I can economically afford to raise but I REALLY want to produce all the high priced soybeans I can raise next year!