Dickinson Research Extension Center ~ 1089 State Avenue, Dickinson, ND 58601

R. J. Goos, B. E. Johnson & P. M. Carr. 2001. Establishment of Bradyrhizobium japonicum for soybean by inoculation of a preceding wheat crop. Plant and Soil 235:127-133.

On fields with no history of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) production, inoculation alone is often inadequate to provide for adequate nodulation the first time this crop is grown. The objective of this study was to determine if inoculation of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seed with Bradyrhizobium japonicum would lead to an increase of B. japonicum numbers in the soil, and improve nodulation of a subsequent soybean crop. In the greenhouse, wheat seed inoculation increased B. japonicum numbers from undetectable numbers to > 9000 g-1 of soil, whereas the numbers of introduced B. japonicum declined in unseeded pots. In the field, inoculation of wheat seed increased B. japonicum numbers in the soil from undetectable levels to >4000 g-1 the following year. When soybean seed was inoculated, but grown in soil devoid of B. japonicum, nodules formed only near the point of seed placement. The heaviest nodulation, and widest distribution of nodules in the topsoil were found when B. japonicum was established the year before by wheat seed inoculation, plus soybean seed inoculation. Wheat seed inoculation the year before growing soybean, combined with proper soybean seed inoculation, should provide for abundant nodulation the first time soybean is grown on a field.