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Buying inoculants

Buying inoculants

To be sure that an inoculant meets your needs, you should ask questions about the product’s shelf life and live count as well as compatibility with your crop rotation, tillage practices, fertility management and seed delivery systems. You also should ask about the type of testing done on inoculants and whether this testing has been done in actual field situations or under near-perfect conditions.

Here’s a look at field tests results from four inoculant companies:

Becker Underwood

Jim Beuerlein, Seed Enhancement Biologicals, Becker Underwood, and agronomy professor emeritus, Ohio State University, says that early results from growers’ plots in the 2010 growing season “indicate that soybeans treated with Vault HP yielded 2 to 3 bu./acre more than soybeans that didn’t receive an inoculant treatment.” Vault HP contains a patent-pending formulation of rhizobia as well as a biofungicide and growth promoter technology.

Third-party field research showed corresponding improvements in stand population, nodes, blooms and pods per foot of row for Vault HP over soybeans that were not inoculated, Beuerlein adds. “This translated into a 4-bu./acre average advantage in those tests.” Becker Underwood expects to publish additional grower trial results and data from commercial trials with university and third-party providers.

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Advanced Biological Marketing

Early reports for the 2010 crop showed that Excalibre-SA with Induced Gene Expression Triggers (iGET) technology helped provide yield increases of up to 8 bu./acre, says Marty Robinson, Advanced Biological Marketing. He notes that 2009 and 2008 tests also showed an advantage to the iGET technology in plant stand, early season vigor, canopy closure and yield.

The iGET technology provides multifunctional beneficial strains of Trichoderma microbials, based on research at Cornell University and other international biological research programs, Robinson says. This technology is incorporated into Excalibre-SA, as well as crop-specific formulations for corn and wheat in the SabrEx product line.

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EMD Crop BioScience

Despite adverse weather conditions in some areas of the country, soybean fields where Optimize 400 was used had greater plant vigor, fewer replants and higher yields, reports EMD Crop BioScience’s Ryan Locke. Optimize 400 combines a Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculant with LCO (lipo-chitooligosaccharide) Promoter technology, a naturally occurring molecule for root and shoot development.

EMD Crop BioScience is adding to its Torque brand of products for corn as well. Initially available as an in-furrow application of the LCO Promoter Technology, the company is releasing a high concentration (HC) formulation that can be added to retail starter fertilizer bulk tanks as well as a ready-to-apply (RTA) product that growers can apply directly on corn seed. It will be released in a targeted launch in 2011.

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Novozymes BioAg

Consistent field performance with a yield increase of 7% was observed for the JumpStart and TagTeam inoculants, says Novozymes BioAg's Dorn Severtson. JumpStart is a phosphate-solubilizing inoculant that may be used in high pH soils where phosphate tie-up is common. It also can be used in phosphate-deficient soils to ensure that phosphate fertilizer is available to the plant.

TagTeam features dual-mode action. It uses the phosphate-solubilizing properties of JumpStart along with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia. Novozymes BioAg will introduce a low-application-rate technology with TagTeam this growing season. It can be custom applied at ag retail locations or when growers are applying multiple seed treatments at one time.

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The photo on the home page shows soybeans treated with Optimize 400 (right) compared with untreated soybeans (left). Photo courtesy of EBD Crop BioScience.

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