Correct legume inoculation critical this winter

Author: | Date: 03 Apr 2014

Inoculating legumes back pocket guide

Correct legume inoculation is a key consideration for growers looking to plant chickpeas in the upcoming winter season.

Inoculating legumes with rhizobia can enhance nitrogen fixation and represents a minor production cost with a potentially substantial payoff in terms increases in legume nodulation, grain and biomass yield, nitrogen fixation and post-crop soil nitrate levels.

In the northern grain belt nearly all of the 500,000 hectares of chickpea, mungbean and soybean are inoculated and growers are being urged to mindful of correct application procedures and the importance of timing.

The Back Pocket Guide recommends that growers:

  • Use quality inoculants (the Green Tick logo is a trademark of Australian Inoculants Research Group* approval)
  • Match the correct inoculant group to each legume
  • Inoculants contain LIVE bacteria: make sure they are kept in moderate temperatures (less than 30°C, not frozen) away from sunlight and chemicals
  • Sow freshly inoculated seed as soon as possible and definitely within 24 hours of inoculation
  • Use clean potable water for dilution when using liquids or slurries, and make sure holding tanks are free from chemical and fertiliser residues
  • Many pesticides, mineral and organic fertilisers are toxic to rhizobia and should never be mixed with rhizobia
  • Rhizobia can be compatible with seed pickles or dressings for a limited time prior to sowing - always apply the seed dressing first and allow it to fully dry before applying the rhizobia as a second process
  • Always use inoculants before their expiry date
  • Reseal opened bags of peat inoculant and use them within two weeks of first opening the bag.

Inoculating legumes – The Back Pocket Guide was distributed to northern growers  in the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Groundcover magazine in the September/October 2013 edition (Issue 106) and can be downloaded at

The GRDC has also published a booklet Inoculating Legumes: A Practical Guide which is available at and the Rhizobial Inoculants Fact Sheet, available at

GRDC Project Code COR00022

Region North

GRDC Project code: COR00022