This is the first of three blog posts in relation to wheat trials using SMART ROTATIONS 3 liquid bacteria sprayed on wheat in 2019 and 2021. This work has been undertaken ‘on farm’ and has been statistically analysed using combine readings through QGIS and R-studio.

In previous trials we have been studying the effects of consortia of bacteria on wheat yield; these have shown a common uplift of 5%. Having consistently demonstrated an effect in the UK climate, we have extended our work to look at the effects this increased soil community of bacteria have on ‘nutrient use efficiency, specifically whether nitrogen can be modulated post the application of the bacteria?



Applied on the farm in Cambridgeshire on Zyatt variety and Kent on Graham variety. We see here the yield uplift in Winter milling wheat at 100% nitrogen that we have seen in previous work of around 5% (noted as a percentage increase over the control where no bacteria was applied), but we also note an increase in yield when N is reduced from the 100% rate. This trend is shown again on winter feed wheat from another farm trial. Note that these yield differences, compared to the untreated control, are statistically significant.


Bacteria congregate around the root zone through a signalling process where the plant roots ‘emit’ signal molecules that essentially call for bacteria to gather to help release nutrients, or in the case of free-living nitrogen fixers, to fix nitrogen. A working theory is that a high amount of applied nitrogen on winter wheat in spring may lessen the plants need for assistance from the bacteria and, therefore, they reduce this signalling. When a lower amount of nitrogen is used the plant signals for the bacterial communities consequently rise over the warmer spring and summer months with the result that the net nitrogen flows into the plant over the growing season is greater.

Bacteria inoculants:

For those unfamiliar with using bacteria inoculum SMART ROTATIONS 3 comes in a box containing pouches of aseptically produced and packed bacteria that was specially tuned for the specified crop. There is also a bottle of biostimulant that will promote rapid bacterial multiplication when co-applied onto the soil with the bacteria. The contents of the package are emptied into 1000L of water in a sprayer tank, and ideally, with constant agitation, 200L/ha is applied using a nozzle producing a coarse droplet. One pack treats 5ha. Bacteria work in the root zone and so apply before a rain if possible, as this accelerates their journey to the crop roots where they will reside as they feed on exudates causing them to multiply.

For further information on the different SMART ROTATIONS SR3 Rhizobacteria products please see:
  • Winter Milling Wheat.png
    Winter Milling Wheat.png
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  • Winter Feed Wheat.png
    Winter Feed Wheat.png
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  • SR3 Back.png
    SR3 Back.png
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