Historically, many soybean fertility programs are based on the philosophy of “make do with what’s left.” But progressive growers are finding it’s important not to forget this crop’s primary job is to pull nutrients out of the soil, and that those nutrients need to be replenished.
Triple superphosphate (TSP) was one of the first high-analysis phosphorus (P) fertilizers that became widely used in the 20th century. Technically, it is known as calcium dihydrogen phosphate and as monocalcium phosphate, [Ca(H₂PO₄)₂ .H₂O]. Despite its excellent history as a P source, its use has declined as other P fertilizers have become more popular.
Calcium carbonate, the chief component of limestone, is a widely used amendment to neutralize soil acidity and to supply calcium (Ca) for plant nutrition. The term “lime” can refer to several products, but for agricultural use it generally refers to ground limestone.
Gypsum is a common mineral obtained from surface and underground deposits. It can be a valuable source of both calcium (Ca) and sulfur (S) for plants and can benefit certain soil properties under specific conditions.
Sulfur deficiency in corn can masquerade as nitrogen deficiency. Boron deficiency in soybeans may remain hidden — the only sign being a yield below optimal.
A balanced crop nutrition program isn’t done boosting yields after the seed is planted. The role of proper nutrition in preventing disease is often overlooked.
As crop input suppliers and farmers walked corn and soybeans fields this season they may have noticed some telltale signs of nutrient deficiency.
Justus von Liebig, a 19th century German chemist, made great contributions to the science of plant nutrition and soil fertility. While Carl Sprengel, a German botanist, formulated the “theory of minimum,” Liebig investigated and popularized the scientific concept we know today as “Liebig’s Law of the Minimum.” This concept demonstrates that plant growth is not controlled by the total amount of available resources but by the scarcest.