This is a guest post by Steven Peel, owner of Seed Solutions and distributor of ABM® products. Steven has been a part of the seed industry since 1981. Learn more about Steven by visiting: http://www.yourseedsolutions.com/Welcome_Page.php
A few years ago, after having several customers with land coming out of CRP, I was in need of a product for inoculating soybeans. I researched many companies and had difficulty finding a specific solution that would meet their needs, until I stumbled upon Graph-Ex®.
When searching for an inoculant there are six (6) factors that must be present for me to even consider carrying it:
Ease of Use
It goes without saying: If the product isn’t easy to use, growers simply won’t use it.
Peat vs. Talc-graphite
As far as I am concerned, peat should not even be an option. Peat based products initially seemed cheap, but to get a good amount of Rhizobia we had to mix several pouches of product into each planter box. This tripled our initial costs! And, we ended up with seed monitors plugged with dirt. The talc-graphite found in Graph-Ex® is easier on meters (doesn’t gum up) and provides more accurate seed drop and placement.
Farmer Applied vs. Commercial Seed Treatment.
Here in our corner of Eastern Missouri, there are no commercial seed treater’s nearby. The growers need to be able to apply the inoculant themselves. So, once again the inoculant must be easy to apply.
Dry vs. Liquid
Since professional seed treatment is not an option in our area, dry inoculants are generally easier for self-application. Liquids can be messy, they can gum up a planter, and it’s sometimes difficult to coat the seed. Therefore, liquids usually cause more headaches than it’s worth.
It is not uncommon here in Missouri to begin planting on a sunny morning and get rained out of the field at 2:00PM in the afternoon. Growers do not want to retreat the seed if they don’t have to. The inoculant needs to be able to withstand the elements and adhere to the seed.
Getting your money back is not enough. The return on investment has to pay for itself and make the grower money. The product has to work!
When I initially learned about Graph-Ex®, I just ordered a couple boxes to try. When I received them my first thought was, “There is no way this little bit of stuff could do any good…” I was proven wrong!
I was amazed to see that a half oz. of Graph-Ex® had over 50x the number of Rhizobia than the previously used peat-based products. Not only was the count higher, but there were three different strains of Rhizobia; not just one.
It was very easy to use. One scoop treated one bag of seed. I found it unnecessary to try and coat every seed in the hopper; the Graph-Ex® was actually coating the seed as it went through the metering device. I was also happy to see that it was stable and could sit for 72 hours before needing retreatment if I got rained out.
That first year, crop yields averaged +7 bu/Acre with Graph-Ex® over the non-inoculated strips. This past year (2011) we suffered through a terrible drought, but the inoculated beans still yielded 3.5 bu/Acre more than the untreated. Even with a smaller yield increase, we still received $36.00 for every $2.25 invested.
Taking into account the clear advantages of using Graph-Ex®; inoculating soybeans has become a necessary step in improving crop yields, rather than an option.
To learn more about Graph-Ex® and find a dealer near you click here.