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Home > SEEDS - Pasture Grass > Inoculants

Inoculant Use With Legumes

Inoculants for Legumes at Seedland. Inoculants are used for many different purposes. Here we will address the use of inoculants with legumes to promote the nitrogen fixing capabilities of legumes.

Quick Facts On Legume Inoculation

  • Inoculation is the process of introducing commercially prepared rhizobia bacteria into the soil.
  • Legumes convert atmospheric nitrogen to usable ammonia nitrogen for the plant.
  • Each legume species requires a specific species of rhizobia to form nodules and fix nitrogen.
  • Store inoculum and preinoculated seed in a cool environment without exposure to sunlight.
  • Be sure and use Inoculant that is NOT out of date
Legumes have the ability to form a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia (Rhizobium and Bradyrhizobium) bacteria to convert atmospheric nitrogen gas to ammonia nitrogen, a form usable by the plant. This process occurs in the nodules of legumes which occur in the plant's root system. Some Legumes, such as Alfalfa, can produce enough ammonia nitrogen to supply all their nitrogen needs thus eliminating the need for chemical nitrogen fertilizers.

This relationship between the plant and bacteria is mutually beneficial. The bacteria invade plant root hairs and multiply in the outer root tissue. The plant forms tissue that acts as a protective enclosure around the bacteria. The plant also supplies energy to the bacteria from photosynthesis. For their part, the bacteria convert nitrogen gas to ammonia in the nodules.

Rhizobia species are identified by their ability to form nodules on specific legume species. Each legume requires a specific species and strain of rhizobia. Commercial inocula are labeled according to the plant species for which the rhizobia are highly effective. Successful nodulation and effective nitrogen fixation requires the correct inoculant.

Code Name Image Price    
INOC-GARDEN GARDEN & PEA INOCULANT - Inoculant For Peas Vetch Beans Lespedeza & More -Treats 50 lbs.   $14.95
INOC-ALFALFA Inoculant for Alfalfa / Clover - (Used on Alfalfa & Clovers - Red, White, Crimsom (Treats 50 lbs.)   $14.95
INOC-CLOVER Inoculant for TRUE CLOVER - White, Red, Ladino, Crimson Clovers & Alfalfa - Treats 50 LB   $14.95
INOC-SOYBEAN SOYBEAN - Inoculant for SOYBEANS -- Inoculant Pkg - Legumes Soybeans (Treats up to 300 lbs)   $19.95
INOC-YUCCHI Inoculant for YUCCHI & ARROWLEAF Clover-- Inoculant Pkg - Yucchi (Treats up to 50 lbs.)   $14.95


Procedures for Inoculation of Non-Inoculated Legume Seed

Some Legumes are pre-inoculated. These seeds will be labeled as pre-inoculated seeds. Do not confuse seed inoculation with chemical seed treatment. Most seed disinfectants, including fungicides, are toxic to rhizobia bacteria. Do not apply inoculum to seeds that are treated with a bactericide, such as streptomycin, unless you use a resistant strain of the rhizobia. Although some rhizobia species are slightly tolerant to certain chemical compounds, inoculating chemically treated legume seed requires special precautions. Check with the inoculum manufacturer regarding combining products. Avoid inoculum products premixed with pesticides or other toxic chemicals.
  • Buy inoculant suited specifically for each legume planted. Inoculate has a limited life span, so it is important to check the expiration date.
  • Never expose the package of inoculant to heat or direct sunlight (especially the dashboard of a truck), as this will kill the bacteria. To ensure viability, inoculant can be refrigerated or in the peat based form kept cool and dry.
  • Most inoculants come in a black peat base. The best procedure is to add water to form a "slurry".
  • It is best if the peat based inoculant adhere to the seed surface. This may be accomplished by adding a commercial "sticker" agent or as the package states some water. A homemade sticker, a solution of four parts water to 1 part sugar. Follow the package directions for best results. Do not use cola or soda pop as a sticker agent as they are generally acidic and will kill the beneficial bacteria.
  • Dissolve your sticker or sugar in water following inoculant package directions. Add your seed to the slurry making sure that all seed are coated with inoculant. Place seed in the shade to dry before planting for about an hour. DO NOT PLACE INOCULATED SEED IN THE SUN.
  • Properly inoculated seed may help Rhizobium produce up to 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre, depending on species of legume selected. This is very beneficial in reducing fertilization costs, especially when following a legume crop with a grass, corn, grain sorghum, wheat or oats. Think crop rotation.

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depending on the item shipment location and your ship-to destination. (NOTE: No shipments delivered on weekends)
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