Stay rooted in the fundamentals. That’s the core of the advice from Ross Bender, agronomist with Mosaic, as he thinks about crop fertility in 2020.
“It’s not too late to put together a solid crop plan. It’s important growers have conversations with retailers to know what fertility issues need to be addressed,” he says. “Advisers should focus on the fundamentals with growers---get pH right, get macros in control, then start to maximize the value of micros in a farmer’s crop system. Maximizing yield as a way to improve your return on investment becomes imperative in a tight margin cycle."
Bender shares the “3 Ds” of micronutrient management:
- Distribution: “Every plant needs a little bit,” he says. “Solving the distribution flaw in the micronutrient system will be imperative to improve the response to the micronutrient.”
- Duration of availability: “Higher yields produce more biomass for longer into the growing season and that has changed nutrient uptake. To give plants an advantage, we have to find ways to keep micronutrients available longer,” Bender explains.
- Daily uptake needs: “Plants have daily requirements, so we should be mindful to provide the right amount to hungry roots,” he says.
Bender adds that if you accomplish the 3 Ds, it maximizes the likelihood of a response to a micronutrient application.
“In the past couple of years, the two nutrients receiving the most attention are boron and zinc, and we can consistently demonstrate a yield response to applications of those two,” Bender says.
He highlights Mosaic’s Aspire with Boron, which in field trials has shown a 2 to 3 bu. response on soybeans and 5 to 8 bu. response in corn when compared to traditional potash.
Bender shares that high yielding hybrids and varieties have changed the nutrient needs of plants. With more biomass being produced, that’s the driving factor in needing more nutrients to be accumulated and extending the time period to uptake those nutrients.
“We are selling more MicroEssentials than MAP or DAP,” Bender says. “It’s not a fad that this product has become our No. 1 product in the past 15 years. It is providing a new way to manage micros including sulfur. It has multiple forms of sulfur to provide sulfur to be available from the beginning to the end. It also solves the distribution issue with a little zinc in every granule.”
For more information, Bender recommends CropNutrition.com