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Micronutrients

04 Mar 2015

A number of products are currently on the market that cite they are increasing yields by providing micronutrients to crops. As government agencies no longer test the efficacy of the products or validate these claims I felt it was fitting to discuss the importance of micronutrients and how they fit into to crop production in our area.

Micro nutrients have been recognized as essential for crop production for 100 years.

The two most commonly shown to be deficient in our geography are Zinc and Copper. This is especially the case in cereal production.

Soil factors that can affect availability and uptake of micro nutrients are

  • Low soil organic matter (mostly sandy soils) or very high organic matter (peat).
  • High pH – over 7.5 – most of the soils in our geography are over 7.8
  • High phosphate levels
  • Cold wet soils at time of planting

Soil type variability in a field can cause deficiencies in part of a field due to light texture on eroded areas and sandy ridges and high productive areas can cause deficiencies in the crop due to over application of phosphate.

Proper and comprehensive soil testing can identify problems throughout the whole field and allow the producer to properly address issues to maximize yield and profit.

With micronutrients costing anywhere from $3.00 to $10.00 per pound, proper and timely application can provide a major gain to the bottom line. Too little in areas of deficiencies and too much in adequate or high zones of a field can lower profits.

With many producers wanting and needing to achieve 65 to 80 bushels of wheat per acre, the need to address micronutrient values and availability is of utmost importance.

Only with proper soil testing and crop scouting, looking for signs of deficiency in the crop, can a producer increase the chances of achieving the highest possible yields.

Just as important is timing of application and products to use when addressing deficiencies. Examples are equipment available to vary application at seeding, a foliar application be used , stage of crop growth when application should take place.

 

Knowledge         Products              Application         Timing

 

Guessing is expensive.