Inoculation you can bank on - Elders Rural Services

Inoculation you can bank on

If grain legumes are part of your crop rotation, you’re probably already using seed-applied (peat) or soil-applied in-furrow (granule) inoculants to boost the yield from those pulses and save on fertiliser costs.

For an investment of just a few dollars per hectare, they can generate residual nitrogen worth hundreds. The Australian Inoculants Research Group (AIRG) estimates that using inoculants saves farms across the country about $4 billion every year.

That’s a mighty good return on a surprisingly small investment, especially if you also save on labour by applying a granular inoculant through the seeder at sowing.

The one possible difficulty until now has been getting top-quality inoculants if you and everyone else want them at the same time. The number of hectares planted to pulses fluctuates enormously from year to year depending on market and agronomic conditions, and at times growers can leave it until the last minute to order their inoculant supply. Dealing with that sort of late rush has been an issue for all suppliers from time to time, especially now that granular inoculants manufactured overseas dominate the market.

Luckily BASF have solved that problem for the foreseeable future.

It’s just over twelve months since the company completed a $1.6 million upgrade of their BioTech Solutions facility at Somersby on the NSW Central Coast, where the iconic Nodulaid® brand has been produced for decades.

BASF also make Nodulator®, a market-leading granular inoculant. Following the expansion of its production capacity, both Nodulaid and Nodulator are now entirely produced at Somersby. So Elders customers all over Australia can be confident they’ll both be readily available when you want them.

“We only started granular production in January 2020 and were able to meet the whole of last year’s demand in the first quarter,” says Somersby Site Manager Kathleen Johns. “So we’re now in a really good position for 2021. Forecasts are up and so is production. We’ve processed the early orders and looked at the forecasts and planned accordingly. Our products are starting to go out now and we expect the whole process to go very smoothly.”

The switch to local manufacture has made Nodulator the first and only granular inoculant on the market that offers both the extra convenience and accuracy of granules and the added quality assurance of an AIRG Green Tick, showing that it has been independently tested and approved for use in Australian conditions.

For most growers who have always used peat-based inoculants, the Nodulaid® range remains ‘the original and the best’. It’s been around since 1953 – much longer than any of the alternatives – and the processes BASF uses to manufacture it and test its levels of active rhizobia have been regularly updated to ensure it remains the pacesetter.

“We’re proud of the heritage of this Somersby plant and the big investment BASF have made in local production,” says Kathleen Johns and we hope Elders customers will continue to choose them because they know they can rely both on their quality and ready availability.”

Article written by BASF for the Autumn 2021 edition of Seasons Magazine.

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