What are the on-farm benefits of legume inoculation?
29 JulBy atadmin
The primary benefit to farming systems is the capture and conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to plant usable forms for the sown legume and subsequent non-legume crops following the decomposition of crop and pasture legume nitrogen rich residues in the following seasons. In low fertility soils legume captured nitrogen will not fully offset the needs of intensive cropping rotations where legumes may only be grown once in every 4 to 5 years.
Put simply, nitrogen is key driver of plant growth and artificial applied nitrogen is expensive and prone to leaching and volatilisation post application. As a percentage of total dry weight, between 0.4 and 3% of plant biomass ends up as nitrogen in the residues. The level of nitrogen in residues is dependant, among other factors, on how well the plant was supplied with nitrogen during growth. Legumes are no exception to this so the more freely available nitrogen is to the legume, the greater the biomass potential during thelegume-rhizobium symbiosis phase of crop rotation and subsequently the greater the nitrogen offset or benefit.