Published on Wed, 11/02/2016 by BASF Canada

Specific rhizobia bacteria lead to maximum benefits in peas and lentils

Although being buried alive is considered a general fear among humans, to help promote crop yield, it is an inoculant’s job to be buried alive. Inoculants are applied to seed or in-furrow because they contain rhizobium; living bacteria that help fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form of nitrogen that plants can use.

Rhizobia populations are reduced by environmental stresses, and inoculants play a vital role to replenish fields with beneficial bacteria. Although pea and lentil growers understand the benefits of inoculants to produce a successful crop, making the decision on which inoculant to use can be difficult.

No two inoculants are exactly the same; each inoculant manufacturer uses a different strain of rhizobia, and some inoculants are used across crops, while others are specifically formulated for certain crops. Specific strains that are used for specific crops are highly efficient and effective.

The Nodulator XL inoculant from BASF uses Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viceae, a strain of rhizobia that is specific to peas and lentils. For ease of use, the Nodulator XL inoculant comes in different formulations: growers can choose from a liquid formulation, a peat formulation or a solid core granular formulation, all of which help lead to high-yielding plants.

All three formulations provide the nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria to increase nodulation; increased nodulation results in a higher fixation of nitrogen for an increased yield potential. In fact, research trials in Western Canada show that Nodulator XL provides pea and lentil crops with yield boosts of up to eight per cent compared to the competitor.

Jason Swan, a fourth-generation grower from Beechy, Saskatchewan, knows the important role nitrogen plays in producing healthy pulse crops. Swan has been using the Nodulator XL granular formulation on his peas and lentils since 2014. “It’s really important to fix nitrogen in the soil, and Nodulator XL helps us do that, providing much needed nitrogen for the plants,” he said. “What we really like about Nodulator XL is that it’s very easy to use.”

Although growers such as Swan have experienced success with the granular formulation of Nodulator XL, growers need to think about the formulation that is right for their operations in order to get the most out of their pulses.

Russell Trischuk, Technical Marketing Specialist for Functional Crop Care at BASF Canada, highlights the importance of growers choosing the correct inoculant for their operations. “Not all inoculants are created equally. Certain strains of rhizobia are more specific to certain crops, and are more efficient at infection and nodulation. By choosing an inoculant that is specific to a certain crop over one that can be used on numerous crops, you will gain an advantage in nitrogen fixation, and this can lead to increased yield,” he said. “All Nodulator XL formulations use strain 1435, which is specific to peas and lentils. Producing a product that is more flexible and can be used on a variety of crops means sacrificing efficiency and efficacy. Instead of making this sacrifice, the strain of rhizobia in Nodulator XL is the most efficient and effective strain of rhizobia for pea and lentil crops.”

Pulses are a key crop in Canadian agriculture: Canada is a leading producer and exporter of dry peas and lentils. The Canadian pulse industry contributes more than $3 billion to the national economy. Continuing to produce strong, healthy pulse crops can help Canada keep its prominent position within the global pulse industry.

With a full pea and lentil portfolio, BASF can help growers maximize a successful crop. Growers should be mindful of their crop care needs; planning ahead can help ensure optimum results. For more information, visit


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