Seed inoculants positively impact productivity of crops, as well as the overall health of a field. When utilizing inoculants, there are key management tips that must be practiced.
Inoculants use beneficial endophytes, more commonly known as microbes, to promote the health of plants. Several of the microbes form symbiotic relationships with the targeted crops creating mutualism, which in turn benefits both the microbes and the plant. The benefits of inoculants extend far beyond their duties as bio fertilizers. They have shown resistance against some pathogens, allowing crop species to also withstand several common crop diseases.
An inoculant is a living micro-organism that gives growing plants access to important nutrients. They are scientifically created to introduce crop-specific strains of bacteria to your seed. When inoculants are added to soil or seed they work to multiply the amount of roots in the soil. The inoculant infects root hairs which in turn causing root cells to swell, forming beneficial nitrogen-fixing root nodules. Inside these root nodules bacteria converts nitrogen from the air and converts it into a usable plant nutrient.
An easy way to determine if you have healthy or unhealthy root nodules is to slice them in half. A healthy and active nitrogen-fixing root nodule will be bright red to pink in color. A nodule that is green or white in color is not active, and may not become active. A non-active root nodule will be green, brown, gray, or black in color and they may be parasitic.
A healthy root nodule increases the nutrient uptake and also gives back to the soil. By increasing the nutrient uptake level you have the potential to also increase crop yields. The nitrogen-fixing root nodules utilize a better nutrient holding capacity for your soil. This offers the potential for less fertilizer inputs. By adding less nitrogen to fields it then reduces your chances of groundwater contamination from nitrate leaching.
In order to obtain maximum benefits of inoculating your seed, it is important to practice proper management techniques. Always store your inoculant at the recommended temperature ranges and avoid storing it in improper elements. The effectiveness of your inoculant can be negative if applied with other incompatible inputs. It is important to follow all label directions, and to use inoculant before its expiration date. Lastly, make sure to pay close attention to calibration on your application equipment.
Remembering these key management practices will optimize your benefit potential and is a great way to help manage your time in the growing season.
Our retailers offer Inoculant from Monsanto BioAg, BASF, and Verdesian . We also carry silage Inoculant from Lallemand Animal Nutrition.