What’s New In Inoculants

Grainews spoke to the leading inoculant companies operating in Western Canada, asking what’s new for 2010. Here are the responses, with the companies listed in alphabetical order.

BECKER UNDERWOOD

Core products for Western Canada: Nodulator rhi-zobia inoculants for peas and lentils, chickpeas and dry beans. Nodulator N/T, HiStick N/T, HiCoat N/T S225 and PreCoat N/T S225 for soybeans.

New for 2010: Becker Underwood offers Nodulator clay granular inoculant in 800-pound bulk bags called Quarter Pak. At a rate of five pounds per acre, this is enough for 160 acres — hence the name. The clay granular bulk product is available for peas and lentils only at this time. If you’re wondering about the quality of inoculant stored in such a big bag, Ferdie Schneidersmann, Becker Underwood director of marketing, says it’s “exceedingly high.”

Becker Underwood also offers a larger mini bulk bag of Nodulator Spherical Granules for use on soybean. This mini-bulk will also treat a quarter section. Spherical granules are polished and uniform in size for “great flowability and more even dispersion,” Schneidersmann says.

In this pipeline: Nod-ulator “BioStacked” with Bacillus subtilis Nodulating Trigger Bacterium (N/T) increases the amount of nodules. Nodulator N/T is already available for soybeans, and the company has submitted for registration on chickpeas. The bacterium does not offer much value on peas and lentils, Schneidersmann says, but he says the company is working on other BioStacked products for these crops.

Becker Underwood has exclusive global marketing rights to a patented new seed treatment that uses a natural plant compound to “prime” the plant’s insect defense mechanism. It was developed by scientists at Lancaster University in the U. K. Field tests of the new technology in a number of agricultural crops have shown a significant reduction in pest damage as well as increased crop yields, says Eda Reinot, head of research and development for Becker Underwood. When applied as a seed treatment, this new technology appears to provide long-lasting protection following germination. Additional field tests are currently in progress.

Researchers from McGill University in Montreal found a compound that is “highly effective” in stimulating rhizobia to increase nodule formation and nitrogen fixation. Becker Underwood licensed the technology and plans to combine it with rhizobium inoculant products. The first commercial product will be available in the U. S. in 2010, but with extra regulatory approval required in Canada, it will be two or three or more before it’s available here.

EMD CROP BIOSCIENCE

Core products for Western Canada: Soil Implant rhizobium granular inoculant for peas and lentils, dry beans and chickpeas; Cell-Tech rhizobium liquid inoculant for lentils and peas; and Nitra-Stik rhizobium powder inoculants for peas and lentils, dry beans and chickpeas.

New for 2010: EMD’s Soil Implant granular inoculant is now available in 1,000-pound bulk totes for peas and lentils and for soybeans. The bulk granular is peat based and it can be augered.

PulseSignal II: This new product for peas and lentils combines rhizobium liquid inoculant with a tiny vial of flavonoids. Peas and lentils use flavonoid molecules to signal to rhizobium that the roots are there, please come form nodules. It can take a couple weeks, especially under cool or dry soil conditions, for the plant to emit these flavonoid signals. With extra flavonoid added to your inoculant, the rhizobium bacteria are alerted much earlier. “PulseSignal II hastens this recognition step,” says Michael Kereluik, Canadian sales manager for EMD Crop BioScience.

You mix the 21-ml vial of PulseSignal into the rhizobium liquid carrier, then apply them to seed the way you would any liquid inoculant. You have a 24-hour window to seed once the product is applied.

Cost is about 25 per bushel of seed, or about 75 an acre, over the standard liquid inoculant. EMD trials have shown a one to two bushel yield increase for lentils and a two to three bushel yield increase for peas when using PulseSignal II.

In the pipeline: Optimize Pulse IF for peas and lentils and Optimize for soybeans are currently in the CFIA registration process.

Optimize Pulse IF combines Soil Implant granular inoculant with LCO (Lipo-chitooligosaccharide) Promoter Technology. LCO is the molecule that rhizobium use to signal to the plant that the rhizobium is present on the roots. The plant then cooperates with the rhizobium to start the root hair curling and nodulation processes. “It drives the natural growth processes such as root and shoot development, immediately and independently of variety, soil and environmental conditions,” the company says.

NOVOZYMES

Core products for Western Canada: Jumpstart, with soil fungus Penicillium bilaii, which improves uptake of phosphate by roots, is registered for wheat and canola; N-Prove rhizobia inoculant for peas and lentils, soybean and fababean, and TagTeam, which combines JumpStart and N-Prove, for use on peas and lentils, chickpeas, soybeans and dry beans.

New for 2010: Extender for soybean inoculants. Extender extends the planting window for TagTeam Liquid Soybean and N-Prove Liquid Soybean. Without Extender, the planting window is up to five days after application. With Extender, that window is seven to 15 days, depending on the seed treatment you use.

Met52, a bioinsecticide, is registered in Canada for horticulture crops. This is one of the first commercial insecticides based on a naturally occuring microorganism, the company says. Met52 controls black vine and strawberry weevil larvae, thrips pupae and grub larvae on ornamentals and shrubs. It isn’t available for other crops, yet.

In the pipeline: Taegro, a biofungicide, will launch in California this year.

One long-term target for the company, says Novozymes BioAg president Trevor Thiessen, is for nitrogen and phosphorus fixing “biofertility” products for legume AND non-legume crops.

Jay Whetter is the editor of Grainews.

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