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Inoculants - Preventing Disease in Plants

When it comes to preventing disease and promoting growth in your plants, who couldn't use a helping hand? By forming a beautiful friendship with your plants, inoculants work to get those jobs done.

What are inoculants?

Use inoculants to maximize corn yields.While we often think of bacteria, fungi or other soil microbes as unsavory characters, many types of these life forms can help us out. Some form relationships with plant roots, encouraging them to grow and making water and important nutrients more available to the plant. Others live in the soil, breaking down nutrients like phosphorous, so plants more easily can absorb them into their systems. Others still attack plant pests before they become harmful.

Inoculants are specially formulated organism combinations tailored for each type of crop. Inoculants can be applied to seeds or sprayed on the ground, depending on the type of inoculant. By "inoculating," or treating seed or soil with these organisms, the soil environment and crops are both improved. This leads to stronger plants and increased yield.

What can inoculants do?

Inoculants are effective in treating many plant problems.

  • Biofertilizers are one type of inoculants that increases plant growth. Some bacterial inoculants, called rhizobacterial inoculants, can enhance the availability of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous. Other types of bacteria form symbiotic relationships with roots, increasing nitrogen nutrition, plant growth and grain yield. Some bacteria break down soil nutrients to simpler forms for easier plant uptake.
  • Biopesticides colonize around the plant and help suppress harmful organisms by killing them or consuming their food resources to starve them. Many bacteria, fungi and nematodes make great biopesticides.
  • Another type of inoculant stimulates plants' defenses to pests and pathogens, making it harder for these to attack the plants.

Inoculant application and storage

Inoculants are available in liquid, solid or freeze-dried form. Growers can purchase pre-inoculated seeds or mix the inoculants with seeds in a planter box before planting. Because inoculants are living organisms, inoculated seeds or mixtures should always be stored in a cool, dark, dry place.

What are the best types of inoculants for my crop?

With so many choices, selecting the best inoculants for your crop can be confusing. Here, we show you the different inoculants suited for various plant types. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension program offers a more detailed list, and your Southern States Agronomy Professional can recommend the best inoculant for your crop.

Plant Type Inoculant Result
Ornamental Gliocladium sp. Antifungal
Trichoderma spp. Promotes plant growth
Beans and Peas Rhizobium Fixes nitrogen
Pseudomonas spp., Bacillus spp. Increases root growth
Bacillus subtilis Increases plant disease resistance
Corn, Rice, Wheat Azospirillum, Azobacter, Bacillis, and Burkholderia strains Fixes nitrogen
Many Vegetables Bacillis subtilis Increases plant disease resistance
Trichoderma spp. Promotes plant growth
Pseudomonas spp. Promotes plant growth, anti-fungal
Gliocladium spp. Anti-fungal
Good for Most Crops Mycorrhizae fungi Increases nutrient and water uptake, increases disease and drought resistance
Bt Kills caterpillars, beetle larvae, fly larvae and nematodes
Streptomyces lyclicus, griseoviridis Promotes plant growth, anti-fungal

About BioStart®

BioStart® is a natural soil inoculant, that increases yields for farmers who grow food and ornamental crops. Its blend of beneficial bacterial strains grow on or close to the root surfaces of plants producing benefi­cial enzymes and growth-promoting substances. These essential beneficial bacteria are required for successful plant growth.

BioStart® is not a pesticide or a chemical, but a blend of naturally occurring Bacillus spores that may also work to prevent the growth of disease-causing microorganisms that can damage plant roots.

The enhanced soil biodiversity resulting from applications of BioStart® have proven to increase crop yields as much as 20-50% when compared with non-treated crops.

Because BioStart® bacteria form spores during adverse or dramatically changing environmental conditions, they do not lose efficacy. When conditions improve, they regenerate and get right back to work improving the soil around your plants' roots.

You can mix BioStart® with many fertilizers, herbicides and fungicides so application is easy. Use any conventional sprayer at planting or in the early life of the plant for best results. Always test for compatibility before mixing.

You can use BioStart in two ways – as a seed treatment or a spray. The seed treatment product is called Rhizoboost Concentrate Ultra. The spray product is called Rhizoboost 4x, which is applied at 1 quart/acre.

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