One of the most important inputs for any pulse crop is inoculant, and several input suppliers offer lentil inoculants in a variety of formulations. Proper inoculation for lentil will reduce — or remove — your need to apply nitrogen fertilizer and will help get your crop get off to a good start.
Lentil inoculants come in three formulations.
- Peat Powder Inoculant: Applied directly to the seed with a non-toxic sticking agent, this formulation is a finely ground peat that contains over a billion rhizobia per gram. Peat powder inoculant is one of the most common types used in Canada.
- Liquid Inoculant: This formulation, which also contains over a billion rhizobia per gram, is applied directly to the seed, and because it comes in liquid form, a sticking agent is typically included in the fluid. Liquid inoculant comes in bags that make it easy to distribute evenly onto the seed while it is being augered into a truck box or through a drill fill.
- Granular Soil Inoculant: Unlike peat powder or liquid inoculants, granular soil inoculant is not applied directly to the seed but, rather, with the seed in the seed row. This formulation does, however, contain the same amount of rhizobia as both the powder and liquid inoculants and is gaining in popularity because of its convenience.
Generally, it’s advisable to inoculate your seed the day you’re seeding, but different brands or types have different storage limits and recommended application timing. Some types of inoculants can also be mixed with fertilizer or pesticides. When choosing the right lentil inoculant, talk to your input supplier and read all labels carefully.