If you have grown legumes in the past, or have had natural growing clovers, you likely will not need inoculate as the soil will already have the bacteria readily accessible. Where inoculates come into play most is where you are growing for max seed harvest and in my opinion not real relevant in a food plot situation. The cost is minimal but getting the seed itself inoculated usually involves mixing with small amounts of water or soda and drying the seeds back out which is time demanding.
Another problem is getting the correct inoculate for the seed you are going to plant. It is just not available in all areas unless it is special ordered or the available seed coating is through large Ag equipment where companies don’t want to make small seed runs. And as far as pre inoculated seeds, well there is a relatively short shelf life with the inoculate so depending on when the seeds were coated it may not be very effective. Lots of seed coatings on clovers are clay based, meaning they hold the most moisture which helps with germination. Some coatings are specifically for moisture retention like on the Alfalfa I usually plant.
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