Soybeans – strategic crop in Ukraine and in the world. Soybean growing technology with inoculants
02 October 2017

GROWING SOYBEANS WITH INOCULANTS

Nataliia Hordiichuk, LLC “AGRITEMA”

Over the millennium, soy attracted the attention of the man.It is one of the oldest plants cultivated in Asia along with rice.

In Ukraine soybeans appeared in the early twentieth century and immediately sparked a lively debate among scientists and ordinary people. Interest in soy products is associated primarily with the unique chemical composition of soybeans. In general, the protein content of soybeans is unmatched and contains 34.9% of vegetable protein, whereas the protein content in eggs is 12%. In addition, soy protein is 90% digested by man. That is why this crop has become a major source of raw materials for many industries.

One of the most important agricultural technologies in soybeans growing is a pre-sowing seed inoculation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. That is why the world leaders of soy production, like the US, Brazil and Argentina inoculate majority of their soybean areas. This is not just an environmentally friendly technology, it is also very economical in comparison with the use of N fertilisers.

Farmers in these countries rely heavily on atmospheric nitrogen which that is fixed by the inoculated plant. And there’s a rational explanation.

The potential amount of fixed by inoculated soybeans atmospheric nitrogen can reach up to 360-450 kg / ha. For each ton of grown soy  about 80 kg of N are needed (65 kg of N goes to seed which contains 40% protein and 15 kg N in roots, stems and leaves).

In order to obtain a yield of for instance 2,5 T / ha, the need in atmospheric N will be 200 kg / ha. If using inoculants your costs of biological nitrogen shall be minor.  A farmer might pay between 300-400 UAH / ha for the most efficient inoculant on the Ukrainian market.

Uptake of N-fertilizers by soybean plants does not exceed 60%, which means that plants require about 340 kg N / ha or a ton of urine (34% N) for achieving the above yields.

In October 2015 the price of ammonium nitrate (34% N) amounted up to 7500 UAH / T and keeps increasing daily. To the price of nitrogen fertiliser one should add the cost of fuel for the fertiliser application machinery. So, one should decide what is more profitable?

 Experience Brazil

Brazil – the second largest country in soybean growing area (31 500 000 hectares in 2014). The average yield in December 2014 amounted up to 2.98 T / ha. Local researchers conducted a series of field trials, comparing the yields of soybeans, grown three years in a row in three variants. The results are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Comparison of yield (T / ha) of soybeans in 3 variants

Treatment South Region

Londrina Ponta Grossa

Сerrados

Goianiia

Planaltina

1. Uninoculated 3,836 2,697 2,341 2,483
2. Uninoculated, N 200 kg 3,434 2,872 2,432 2,660
3. Inoculated by highly effective strains 4,025 2,912 2,462 3,119
Increase at an annual inoculation against the uninoculated options, % 4% 7% 5% 25%

Experience in Uruguay

Uruguay – the ninth largest country in soybean growing area (1 250 000 hectares in 2014). The average yield in December 2014 amounted up to 2.72 T/ ha. Inoculation of 100% of the area with high quality inoculants of local production. Manufacture of inoculants is controlled by the State. All bacterial strains selection for production is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture. None of the inoculant that does not meet strict quality standards and requirements for the titres of bacteria will not be able to obtain registration in Uruguay. That is why inoculants in this country are among the best in the world.

Ukraine annually inoculates about 50% of the area, although in most fields there is no history of growing soybeans. Why? Does the fear of soybean growers to rely on unseen living organisms outweigh the fortune costs of nitrogen fertilisers?

AgriBacter®– high quality two-component pre-inoculant for soybeans, which contains a minimum of 1×1010 / ml of CFU of Bradyrhizobium elkanii. The product makes it possible to carry out inoculation 90 days before planting and initiates a mass formation of productive nitrogen-fixing nodules at the early stages of plant development.

  • Purpose: fixation of atmospheric nitrogen by soybeans
  • Form: liquid sterile product of highly efficient strains of Bradyrhizobium elkanii
  • Titre of bacteria: 1×1010/ml (10 billion. CFU / ml)
  • Seed treatment: possible up to 90 days before sowing
  • Compatibility: compatible with majority of original chemical treatments
  • Rates: mixture of 1,25 L Agribacter® inoculant and 1,25 L of Bioprotector per 1 Т of seeds (total of 2,5 L/T of soybean seeds)
  • Package: 12 L (2×3 L inoculant and 2×3 L Bioprotector)
  • Shelf-life: 18 months at temperatures between +4 and +10°С
  • Country of origin: Uruguay
  • Yeild benefit with Agribacter® 150-300 kg/ha

Rhizofix® -a high quality inoculum product that contains min 4×10⁹ CFU/ g of Bradyrhizobium elkanii. The product allows inoculating soybean seeds up to 24 hours before sowing. The treatment promotes mass formation productive nitrogen-fixing nodules at the early stages of plant development.

  • Formulation: peat based sterile product of highly effective Bradyrhizobium elkanii strains
  • Concentration: 4×10⁹ CFU/g (4 billion/g)
  • Seed treatment: possible 24 hours before sowing
  • Compatibility: compatible with majority of original chemical treatments
  • Rates: 2,8-3,3 kg of peat based inoculant per 1 T of seeds
  • Package: 8,4 and 10 kg box (2 and 1,4 kg sachets)
  • Shelf-life: 18 months at temperatures between +4 and +10°С
  • Country of origin: Uruguay
  • Yeild benefit with RhizoFix® 150-300 kg/ha

Speaking about the prospects of inoculation technology, the advantages of this method of treatment has been experienced by many Ukrainian farmers. Additional benefit per hectare, even in the most modest of cases gave them the opportunity not only to return the costs, but also to receive significant profit. And the benefits of the use of bacterial products for soil improvement can be seen in the figures:  total amount of nitrogen left in soil and plant remnants  is from 57.5 to 335 kg / ha per year.