Agronomy Talk

Agronomy Talk: Corn Foliar Nutrition

Published on Friday, March 06, 2020

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We know that micronutrients such as zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), and boron (B) are important for the growth and
development of a corn plant. These nutrients are especially important at grain fill, as shown below. While timing is key, we also know that plants only require approximately 0.6 lb. of both Zn and B to produce a 220 Bu./A. corn crop, so foliar applications could potentially supply an adequate amount.

AS STATED IN "MODERN CORN HYBRIDS NUTRIENT UPDATE PATTERNS"

  • Effectively minimizing nutrient stress requires the matching of nutrient supply with plant needs, especially in highyielding conditions.

  • Matching corn micronutrient needs in high-yielding conditions requires us to supply nutrient sources and rates that can meet the crop's needs during key growth stages.

  • Micronutrients demonstrated more narrow periods of nutrient uptake than macronutrients, especially Zn and B.

Source: Bender, R.R., J.W. Haegele, M.L. Ruffo, and F.E. Below. 2013. Modern Corn Hybrids Nutrient Uptake Patterns. 97 (1): 7-10.

Caption: A & L Great Lakes soil test results also demonstrate declining soil levels of both Zn and B in the Midwest.

WHY ARE WE POTENTIALLY SEEING MORE RESPONSES TO FOLIAR NUTRITION?

We are experiencing increased yield levels that stretch the soil’s ability to provide the necessary nutrients. For many necessary nutrients, we rely on mineralization to provide them from organic matter in the soil. Mineralization requires key environmental conditions to operate at peak efficiency. In addition, key micronutrients such as B and Zn have tight windows for uptake. Therefore, environmental conditions that impede mineralization during these peak uptake times may limit availability, even in soils with good organic matter and fertility levels.

FOLIAR TIMING

Beck's PFR results have both shown the potential to increase yields with foliar products simply by focusing applications to a certain time of day. These results indicate that morning and late evening applications deliver greater nutrient uptake, and ultimately greater yields. There could also be a correlation to timing with certain hybrids. We will continue to research this in PFR to determine when peak yields can be achieved.

Versa Max™ is a trademark of Midtech R&D, Inc. (Manufactured for: Rosen's, Inc.). MAX-IN® is a trademark of WinField Solutions, LLC. NutriMax AC™ is a trademark of Grow Seven.

 

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Author: Jim Schwartz

Categories: Agronomy, Agronomy Talk

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