Micronutrients are essential to crop growth. Micro refers to the amount of these elements needed in comparison to macro nutrients, which are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Although needed in lesser amounts, micronutrients are crucial to crop growth, and if one of these elements is not available to the plant in the necessary amounts then that can become a yield limiting factor. This study looks at Micro 500 by AgroLiquid®, which contains boron, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc. We looked at an application of Micro 500, which is all these nutrients applied in one product, and each nutrient applied by themselves and compared these to an untreated check.
Wabash, Ind. and St. Johns, Mich.:
- Varieties DSR-2562E™
- All products applied at 1 quart per acre.
- Application timing R2/R3
- Micro 500
St. Johns, MI
Treatments at the Wabash, Ind. site had four replications, and the St Johns, Mich. location had two replications. Plants acquire micronutrients through their roots, so soil type, organic matter, texture and moisture all contribute to the possibility of micronutrient deficiencies. This initial year of this study, we saw where the application of boron showed the greatest yield increase in both locations. Boron is a very soluble nutrient in soil. For boron to be taken up by the plant, it must be in soil solution, which is the water matrix that surrounds soil particles. The testing sites for this study both experienced droughty conditions during the growing season. These dry conditions could have limited the amount of boron that the plants were able to take up, and although no boron deficiency was noted at either location, the application of boron was enough to increase the yield.
The application of foliar fertilizers is common in areas where growers are trying to achieve that next level in yield. With all the foliar fertilizer products on the market, it can be difficult to determine which nutrient or combination of nutrients is right for a given scenario. Many growers adopted the trial-and-error method in regard to foliar fertilizer, which works to eliminate products that may not fit particular geographies or management systems but can be costly and time consuming. If micronutrient deficiencies are a yield limiting concern on an operation, the best method to determine which nutrients to apply can be achieved by establishing a baseline through three to five years of tissue sampling. This accumulated data will help reveal which, if any, nutrients are limiting to yield, and the limiting nutrients can then be applied to help protect maximum yield potential.