Soybean Inoculant Shows Solid Payback
Posted on January 15, 2010
Source: Ontario Farmer
You won't make a lot of money applying soybean inoculants on a field with a history of bean production. But then again, a recently completed Ontario study shows there's a good chance you'll triple your input investment. The debate over whether to inoculant fields with an established soybean rotation has been ongoing for years, with some experts suggesting there's little benefit and others insisting that the modest $3-4/acre investment is more than worth it.
OMAFRA soybean lead Horst Bohner believes a three-year, Ontario-wide study completed this fall should put the matter to rest. With some 38 location/years, Bohner believes the data set is fairly reliable.
When all the sites were tallied, the average yield benefit from inoculating fields with a history of bean production was 1.25 bushels. The cooler weather of 2010 provided a 1.8 bushel boost, Bohner says. It seems that in a year where some fields didn't nodulate until late in the growing season the additional rhizobia paid greater dividends than in a warm season.
Interestingly there wasn't a lot of variation. Seventy-five per cent of the plots saw a positive response and most of these fell into the one to two additional bushel range. "I think the results are pretty compelling," Bohner says.
He figures it's an easy way for growers to squeeze an extra bushel out of their crop without a lot of inconvenience. "It won't change the world but modern inoculants are very user-friendly, especially when the seed companies are willing to apply them for you," he says.
One of these new products is Becker Underwood's recently registered HiCoat N/T S225, a so-called biostacked pre-inoculant that comes on the seed and stays viable for up to 225 days when applied without a chemical seed treatment, according to the company. Having it applied at the seed source means more even coverage than what might be expected with on-farm application.
Bohner says he's especially pleased because the results of the three-year study fit very well with similar research done in Michigan and Ohio.