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Granular or Liquid? How to Choose Your Inoculant

Choosing the right inoculant isn’t about what you want — it’s about what you need. Inoculants ensure your soybean and pulse crop has the sufficient nodulation it needs to maximize its potential. Picking the right one for your farm means balancing a number of factors like performance, ease of use, and cost. Both granular and liquid inoculant formulations are widely used in Western Canada, but which one is the right fit for you?

BrettYoung’s biologicals lineup features a range of products including both granular and liquid inoculants to provide Western Canadian growers with the right inoculant solution for their needs. 

Granular Inoculants #

Granular inoculants are used in Western Canada for their robust ability to protect rhizobia and ensure inoculant survival. They allow for maximum flexibility with seed-applied products (like seed treatments) as they’re applied to the soil separately from the seed.

The challenge with granular inoculants is they’re bulky. And though their separate application can be a benefit in some ways, it also means they have to be handled separately during seeding, which requires you to have additional equipment. Granular inoculants are also typically more expensive per acre than other inoculant types.

BrettYoung has two granular inoculant options: Launcher Pea/Lentil Granular and Launcher Soybean Granular, both of which are an effective and efficient source of rhizobia.

Liquid Inoculants #

Liquid inoculants are applied directly onto your seed, eliminating the extra handling granular inoculants require. They’re less expensive per acre than granular inoculants, too.

Liquid inoculants do require good on-seed application but can be applied with a chemical seed treatment application. Advances in liquid inoculant technology have significantly improved the on-seed life of some liquid inoculants but growers using one have to be aware of its on-seed life and product compatibility with chemical seed treatments.

When using a seed applied inoculant, the time frame from when the inoculant leaves its package to when the inoculated seed is placed in the soil is when its most susceptible. This can be further compounded by chemical seed treatments.  On-seed life measures how long rhizobia will be viable once applied to seed and is tested in combination with seed treatments to assess their compatibility.  This helps growers to understand how to manage application and planting and ensures product performance. 

We have several liquid inoculant options for you to choose from — Signum Soybean, , Osmium Pea/LentilOsmium Chickpea all feature longer on-seed survival enhanced performance in challenging conditions.

Choosing Your Inoculant #

The most significant factor to consider when choosing your inoculant is the risk of nodulation failure in a particular crop. In fields with little or no history of soybeans or pulse crops, or those that have experienced flooding or significant drought, double inoculation (using both a granular in-furrow and liquid on-seed inoculant) may be the best strategy.

Double inoculating in fields with limited pulse or soybean cropping history is important because it increases the number of rhizobia in the soil and distributes them more broadly in the seed row.  This will maximize your crop’s opportunity to fix nitrogen when background rhizobia populations in the soil are low.  

For more information on BrettYoung inoculants, contact your BrettYoung Regional Account Manager.

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