What is an inoculant?

An inoculant is a product that effectively introduces Rhizobium bacteria on a seed at planting. Effective inoculation with rhizobia results in the formation of root nodules that fix nitrogen for the plant and soil.

How does an inoculant work?

Rhizobium inoculants act as symbiotic biofertilizers. The introduced rhizobia form nodules on the roots of a specific legume host. These nodules convert (or “fix”) atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into essential plant building blocks (e.g. amino acids, proteins etc.).

When should I use an inoculant?

Rhizobium inoculants should be used when planting any legume or clover crop. Inoculation can provide an economic return to the farmer in all legume planting situations.

What does a sticker do?

A sticker can significantly increase the adhesion of inoculant to the seed surface. Without a sticker, the product will fail to adhere to the seed, and accumulate in the bottom of the planter box. The most convenient sticker is one that is integral or actually a part of the product, allowing a quick, clean and easy inoculation.

What does a safener do?

A safener is added to an inoculant to help protect the rhizobial cells against desiccation and pesticide exposure. Rhizobia will quickly die on the seed surface if left unprotected (even when a liquid inoculant dries on the seed, these essentially naked cells will quickly die). Additionally, the safener helps protect the Rhizobium cells from pesticides.

How do you apply the inoculant?

There are several methods to apply an inoculant. For proper procedures, follow the directions on the inoculant package.In general, there are two methods of applying an inoculant. These methods are determined by the type of inoculant purchased. The most common is the slurry method application, where typical applications are discussed below. Other inoculation include planter blox applications which are applied to the seed dry.

The traditional slurry method which is used with most peat based inoculants is accomplished by placing the content of inoculant package in approximately 2/3 pint of a water and corn syrup or molasses solution. Stir thoroughly.

In a washtub or bucket pour 1/4 of the required seed and 1/4 of the slurry mixture onto the seed. Mix thoroughly. Repeat process until all required seed is treated. If the seed is wet, allow to set for no longer than thirty minutes to allow to dry.

Plant immediately.