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Agronomy Update December 2019

Posted by Dave Dyson, Agronomist on December 05, 2019

The Andersons Agronomy Update: July 2018

By Dave Dyson, Agronomist

Three micronutrients which should be included in all starter fertilizers are boron, manganese and zinc. These micronutrients provide important biological and logistical benefits that are not worth passing up.

Boron’s main role in the plant’s physiology is the formation and strengthening of cell walls. Concentration of boron is different among species; dicots (soybeans and alfalfa) require higher boron levels than monocots (corn and wheat). Boron is very instrumental in root and pollen tube elongation. Deficiencies can result in short and thick cell walls that can inhibit both root uptake and reproduction. Boron deficient plants may have flowers that fail to set seeds. Research shows boron is important in nitrogen fixation and nodulation in legumes. Boron deficiency can result in a decreased rate of water absorption and the translocation of sugars in plants. While boron is an important nutrient on its own, it also has a positive impact on the uptake of potassium and phosphorus in many plants.

Manganese may be needed in small quantities, but it activates several important metabolic reactions and plays a vital role in photosynthesis by aiding in chlorophyll synthesis.  Manganese accelerates germination and maturity while increasing the availability of phosphorus and calcium. Manganese is very immobile in plants, so deficiency symptoms appear first on younger leaves at the top of the plant. The symptoms of manganese deficiency can be described as interveinal chlorosis, which is when the area between the veins becomes yellow, green or white while the veins stay green. Sometimes a series of necrotic brownish-black specks appear prior to leaf drop. Stunting and premature death will occur if a severe deficiency is not addressed and corrected.

Zinc was one of the first micronutrients recognized as essential for plant growth and is a common nutrient that can limit yield. Although only a small amount of zinc is required, it is impossible to achieve high yields of corn or wheat without it. Because of its role in protein synthesis and growth regulation, zinc directly affects the plant’s ability to efficiently metabolize nitrogen,. Reduced hormone production due to a zinc deficiency will cause stunted tissue growth. White interveinal stripes will extend from the leaf base to the tip, while the leaf tips, edges, and midribs stay green. Deficient plants will have shortened internodes, and if you cut the nodes open, they will appear to have a purple to brown color. All zinc deficiency symptoms will first appear on the younger leaves, since zinc is less mobile within the plant.

In conclusion, manganese is so important to germination that all starters should include a small quantity. According to A&L Great Lakes Laboratories, over 80% of the cropping acres in the Midwest will respond to an application of zinc, and over 95% of all fields would show a positive result from applying an application of boron. The Andersons has a diverse portfolio of boron, manganese and zinc products that will fit into any grower’s operation. The key is to include them in the right proportion, to ensure they accelerate growth rather than harm the plant.  An excellent program is 1 qt/ac of MicroCarb in your in-furrow fertilizer. This amount of boron, manganese and zinc will give your crop a nice boost early in the season, while providing a carbon source in the form of fulvic acid to help transport nutrients more efficiently into the plant. Please contact your representative from The Andersons for an informed conversation on how to get more micronutrients on the crop.

By Jessica Stacy, Product Specialist

MicroCarb has been proven time and time again in field trials. Over the course of 55 trials with MicroCarb in corn, a positive yield advantage was observed 87% of the time over the untreated control. The below graph is a compilation of all corn trials involving MicroCarb soil and foliar applied from years 2014-2018 in test locations CO, NE, WI, IN, IL, IA, MN, and OH.


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