Organic farmers recognize the importance of rhizobial associations with legume plants to help meet N fertility and plant productivity needs. A field experiment was done at three organic fields in Minnesota to assess the effect of indigenous Bradyrhizobium japonicum ORGS3 and ORGS5 and reference USDA 110 strains on the growth and yield performance of soybean. Soybean genotypes MN1505SP and Lambert inoculated with B. japonicum ORGS3 had significantly greater (P < 0.01) nodule numbers (42.1 ± 2.5), herbage N-contents (4.02 ± 0.01%), dry biomass (12.60 ± 1.45 g), and plant populations (117,890 ± 288.13 plant/acre) compared with the un-inoculated control. Grain yields were not affected by inoculation. Most nodules formed on non-inoculated Lambert (70%) and MN1505SP (53%) were occupied by strain ORGS5. The inoculant strains USDA110 and ORGS5 increased nodule occupancy by 10% on MN1505SP and Lambert. In contrast, strain ORGS3, and the combination of strains ORGS5 plus ORGS3, increased nodules occupancy on Lambert by 23 and 20%, respectively, compared with the control. The majority of nodules on Lambert (59%) and MN1505SP (52%) in the Farmington and Lamberton fields, respectively, were occupied by ORGS5. In contrast, 41 and 45% of nodules formed on Lambert and MN1505SP at Rosemount, respectively, were occupied by strain ORGS3. The lowest percentage of nodules formed on Lambert (4%) and MN1505SP (5%), in the Farmington field, were occupied by USDA110. These results showed that Bradyrhizobium strains ORGS3 and ORGS5 can be used to enhance N fixation and productivity of organically-grown soybeans grown in Minnesota fields.
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- Bradyrhizobium japonicum strains
- Nitrogen fixation
- Nodule occupancy
- Organic farming