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E. IOWA - GREG SHEPHERD, CCA

Keeping a Watchful Eye on Plant Nutrition

Published on Saturday, April 1, 2017

With spring, comes a flurry of activity. There are a million things to get done to raise a successful crop. In all the commotion of planting season, I recommend keeping a watchful eye on plant nutrition. You may say, “no sweat I already have my N, P and K applied so I checked that off the list weeks ago”. Applications of the big three nutrients are vital, and while I don’t want to minimize their importance, we shouldn’t assume that since we made our annual fertilizer applications that providing all the nutrition our crops need is complete.

Two nutrients that are important, especially during the vegetative growth stages of a crop, are manganese and sulfur. Manganese is vital in photosynthesis and producing chlorophyll, and its availability is influenced by soil pH and oxygen. Sulfur also plays a role in producing chlorophyll as well as in the formation of proteins. It may be limiting due to higher removal rates from larger crops in recent years and a reduction in the amount of sulfur in the atmosphere leading to less being deposited in rainfall. Applying a product containing these two nutrients at planting or adding it to an in-season application may increase the productivity of your crop due to an unidentified deficiency.

 

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Author: Greg Shepherd

Categories: Agronomy Talk

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