Boron Nutrition Necessary for Optimal Alfalfa Yield

After each cutting of alfalfa, growers around the country are removing not just record yields from their fields, but also much-needed nutrients for future growth. Applying the right fertilizer is key to improving efficiencies and increasing yield consistently and conveniently. 

Dr. Ross Bender, senior agronomist for The Mosaic Company, recommends Aspire® with Boron for alfalfa growers because, of all crops, alfalfa is one of the largest users of boron (B) and responds well to applications of it. In a recent four-year study, The Mosaic Company found Aspire increased alfalfa yield by 0.5 ton dry matter/acre over potash alone when applied after first cutting. 

"Regular replenishment of boron on a high demanding crop like alfalfa is essential for proper plant development," says Dr. Bender. "Alfalfa needs boron for many reasons, including proper development of nodules and overall root growth. Plus, studies show that high-nutrition alfalfa increases cows' milk production - a clear indication that feed value improves with balanced crop nutrition."

Though needed only in small quantities, B has an important role in above-ground plant development too. It is a component of plant cell walls and reproductive structures, and is a mobile nutrient within the soil, meaning it has the potential to leach through the profile over time. Because it is required only in small amounts, it is important to deliver B as evenly as possible across the field. Traditional fertilizer blends containing B struggle to achieve uniform nutrient distribution.

Alfalfa Boron

Alfalfa plants grown with deficient (left) and adequate (right) supply of B fertilization (courtesy: A. Yazici and I. Cakmak).

According to Bender, "Aspire ensures uniform nutrient distribution when applied in a broadcast application, and also nourishes plants at the root level so nutrients are available when and where the plants need them." 

Despite the well-known need for this critical nutrient, B remains the second-most deficient micronutrient worldwide after zinc. Boron also plays a critical role in a diverse range of plant functions including maintenance of structural and functional integrity of biological membranes, movement of sugar or energy into growing parts of plants, and pollination and seed set. Thus, crops outside of alfalfa stand to benefit from improved B management as well.

Aspire® with Boron is the first-of-its-kind micronutrient-enhanced potash fertilizer. Formed using innovative Nutriform® technology, Aspire premium potash (0-0-58-0.5B) combines potassium (K) and boron (B) in each granule to help achieve balanced crop nutrition. 

For more information about Aspire, talk to your local retailer or visit Aspire - Overview.

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