> my understanding was that legumes, all the beans and peas and their buddies
> in the clover world etc fixed nitrogen, and did a good job of it on their
> own, so why does everyone recommend adding innoculants?
It is actually a bacterium which "fixes" atmospheric nitrogen into a
form usable by the plant. The innoculant is the bacterium (genus
"Rhizobium") which forms a symbiotic relationship with the leguminous
plant. The bacterium "infects" the root of the plant, and derives
energy from the photosynthetic products of the plant. The plant
generally find this to be a small price to pay for the increased
availability of nitrogen and so both benefit.
The bacteria are quite host specific, so you need different innocula for
clover than for beans. Since the field of interest has had no clovers
grown in the last 10 years, I expect that there would be little or none
of that bacterial strain present. Adding the innoculant tends to raise
the yield significantly, most especially where nitrogen fertility is
rather low, so the nitrogen fixing is a big advantage.
> appreciate clarifications and apologize for the ignorance
Teachers have no value without students!
I ask questions here all the time, sometimes I have answers.
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