The objective in this project was to investigate the effectiveness of different inoculation carriers for lucerne rhizobia. The information gathered can be used to provide recommendations to farmers of appropriate inoculants to use at sowing. To achieve this, the effect of time of sowing, and consequently different soil moisture conditions, on inoculant effectiveness and how this impacts on lucerne growth and development was measured at Lincoln University. In addition, genetic analysis was conducted on rhizobia in the carriers and compared with the rhizobia present within the nitrogen fixing nodules on the roots of the established lucerne plants at flowering. Qakathekile was funded by a New Zealand International Aid and Development Agency (NZAID) scholarship. He was supervised Prof. Derrick Moot and Dr Hayley Ridgway.