Pulse School: The why and how of inoculants

In the pulse industry, the use of inoculants is becoming more and more widespread.

However, they can be a complicated input to wrap our heads around sometimes. Different than other products, inoculants are living organisms that help provide crops such as peas, lentils, faba beans, chickpeas, and soybeans with the required amount of viable bacteria needed to grow a high-yielding crop.

Nikki Vercaigne, technical marketing specialist with BASF, says if a grower does not choose to apply an inoculant with their pulse crops, they are solely relying on whatever native rhizobia population that may or may not be within that soil.

“It’s very crucial to use an inoculant annually, because they’re providing viable, high numbers of robust rhizobia when and where the crop really needs it most,” says Vercaigne. “And the grower is going to ultimately benefit from the high nitrogen fixation coming from the nodules, that are produced from the inoculation practice.”

BASF is currently working on a benchmarking study surrounding the reliability of inoculants, to help producers further understand what inoculants bring to the table.

“We took product right from the marketplace here in Western Canada, and tested the inoculants for quality and stability. So looking at impact rhizobia account claims, as well as on seed survivability, depending on what formulations we’re talking about,” Vercaigne explains.

Results from the study emphasized the importance of growers talking to their retail agronomists, as well as their inoculant manufacturers to really understand the product they have chosen. Stability claims aren’t always what they actually are, so it’s crucial to be looking around the marketplace, says Vercaigne.

Check out the full conversation for some more information on inoculants, plus the BASF global initiative, conducted in North Carolina.

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