The soybean-Bradyrhizobium symbiosis can be very effective in fixing nitrogen and supply nearly all plant's demand on this nutrient, obviating the need for N-fertilizers. Brazil has been investing in research and use of inoculants for soybean for decades and with the expansion of the crop in African countries, the feasibility of transference of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) technologies between the continents should be investigated. We evaluated the performance of five strains (four Brazilian and one North American) in the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 crop seasons in Brazil (four sites) and Mozambique (five sites). The experimental areas were located in relatively similar agro-climatic regions and had soybean nodulating rhizobial population ranging from ≪ 10 to 2 × 105 cells g−1 soil. The treatments were: (1) NI, non-inoculated control with no N-fertilizer; (2) NI + N, non-inoculated control with 200 kg of N ha−1; and inoculated with (3) Bradyrhizobium japonicum SEMIA 5079; (4) B. diazoefficiens SEMIA 5080; (5) B. elkanii SEMIA 587; (6) B. elkanii SEMIA 5019; (7) B. diazoefficiens USDA 110; (8) SEMIA 5079 + 5080 (only tested in Brazil). The best inoculation treatments across locations and crop seasons in Brazil were SEMIA 5079 + 5080, SEMIA 5079 and USDA 110, with average grain yield gains of 4–5% in relation to the non-inoculated treatment. SEMIA 5079, SEMIA 5080, SEMIA 5019 and USDA 110 were the best strains in Mozambique, with average 20–29% grain yield gains over the non-inoculated treatment. Moreover, the four best performing strains in Mozambique resulted in similar or better yields than the non-inoculated + N treatment, confirming the BNF as an alternative to N-fertilizers. The results also confirm the feasibility to transfer soybean inoculation technologies between countries, speeding up the establishment of sustainable cropping systems.
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 261, 230-240