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Harnessing the Power of Rhizobia for Top Soybean Yields

Harnessing the Power of Rhizobia for Top Soybean Yields

AN INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN AND DARIN HEFTY

You can sift carefully through a handful of rich soil, but you can’t tell if they are there. Yet, these rhizobia are necessary to produce profitable yields. These tiny soil microbes form a specific, symbiotic relationship with legume crops such as soybeans. 

While various rhizobia might perform many different bacterial functions within the soil, a very specific one, Bradyrhizobia japonicum, is first and foremost a nitrogen engine for delivery of that essential nutrient to soybeans. Put simply, if you or your customers are gunning for top soybeans yields, you have to understand and appreciate what Bradyrhizobia microbes can accomplish.

While many rhizobia exist naturally in the soil, they are not native to the U.S. Midwest. More than likely, they came to this country from China when soybeans were first introduced here. They survive in the soybean root zone, but it is important to have high numbers in the area immediately around the seed, if you do this, the better your soybeans will perform. The best way to increase Bradyrhizobia populations around your seeds is through the use of inoculants containing the microbes. These tiny soil microbes, while they may have unusual names, are crucial for growth and development on crops like soybeans.

“Focusing on how to increase rhizobia immediately around the seed isn’t always top-of-mind, but expecting naturally occurring rhizobia to do all of the work on their own is like trying to operate a dairy with range cattle,” says Jim Pullins, technical sales representative, seed treatments & inoculants at Verdesian Life Sciences.

Learn more with Ag PhD radio hosts, Brian and Darin Hefty, and Kurt Seevers, technical development manager, seed treatments & inoculants at Verdesian Life Sciences, discussing the benefits of using inoculants, rhizobia and the nitrogen contributions associated with soybeans.

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