Ensuring an effective fertility program remains essential to the modern farmer’s pursuit of higher yields. The early growing season provides an excellent opportunity for growers to identify nutrient deficiencies, because it allows time for proper correction and future planning to ensure maximum yields moving forward.
Kyle Freeman, Ph.D., agronomy research specialist with The Mosaic Company, stresses the importance of “working with your agronomic advisor, whether that is your retailer or crop consultant, to put together a crop nutrition plan that addresses all of the nutrients that are necessary for optimal plant growth.”
Soils deficient in zinc — one of the 17 essential nutrients for plant growth and a key part of photosynthesis — is a growing problem in cornfields throughout the Corn Belt regions. In fact, according to recent research conducted by the International Plant Nutrition Institute, of 1.4 million soil samples tested for Zn, 37 percent tested lower than 1 ppm Zn, and 16 percent were less than 0.5 ppm – which illustrates critical deficiency levels.
By identifying deficiency symptoms through soil and tissue sampling, farmers can plan to amend soils in future seasons and head off deficiency problems. While zinc deficiencies may have visual symptoms in certain crops — such as light-green or white stripes between leaf veins, or stunting — at other times, symptoms can go unseen. Careful soil and tissue sampling, and analyzing the lab reports with an agronomic advisor, are key steps in fine-tuning balanced fertility plans.
High-quality fertility plans utilize both macro and micronutrients to ensure balanced crop nutrition; and establishing the correct ratios for these two types of nutrients is critical. “We want to make sure we have a good proportion of phosphorus to zinc,” Freeman instructs. “For instance, we could actually induce a zinc deficiency by over-applying phosphorus.”
Products such as MicroEssentials SZ were designed with these characteristics in mind. “MicroEssentials provides a balanced formulation of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and zinc in a ration that is balanced for the crop plant health and growth,” says Freeman. MicroEssentials applies a consistent balance of nutrients that enhance plant uptake, allowing plants to use nutrients more efficiently, resulting in higher yields.
By understanding the current state of their field’s nutrient levels, growers can maximize this year’s yield while preparing for the future. Analyzing soil and tissue reports on a field-by-field, crop-by-crop basis with an agronomic advisor remains fundamental in preparing a balanced-nutrient plan.
To listen to Kyle Freeman’s full interview, visit www.MicroEssentials.com.