Inoculant May Not Be Required
Pulses and other legumes are desirable in rotations for their ability to fix nitrogen. But in order to do that the beneficial rhizobia need to be present in the soil or more commonly inoculated during planting. But new processes developed in Australia can measure the amount of these rhizobia to tell a farmer if they even need an inoculant at all. Dr Alan McKay is the Leader of the Soil Biology and Molecular Diagnostics group at the South Australian Research and Development Institute.
McKay… “These tests had to be really specific and only pick up the rhizobia that were associated with the pulse crop. And about two years ago, we finally cracked it for one of the main ones, the group BF, which is the rhizobia that nodulate lentils, field pea, fava bean. Using that we launched it as a provisional service just in South Australia and Victoria this year to identify paddocks where you don't need to inoculate the pulse crop. In Australia, the growers don't like applying their inoculants to the pulse crops. So we think this is going to work pretty well. It's already, we've been using it for research purposes, assessing field trials, and it's pretty impressive for that. The methodologies used prior to the DNA tests were just so labor intensive and throughput was low.”
For more details, listen to Dr. McKay’s full episode on the Growing Pulse Crops podcast on any podcast platform.