A balanced supply of essential macro- and micronutrients is one of the most important factors to achieve higher crop yields. Boron (B) is one of eight micronutrients needed for proper plant growth. Lack of B in plant tissue can reduce cell wall function and stability, cell elongation, root growth, nutrient uptake and crop yields. This article describes the role of B in root growth and nutrient uptake, with a special emphasis on potassium (K).
Unfenced: What are the steps a farmer might take to improve his or her preparation for increased success in 2016?
While soybeans were introduced to the United States in the late 1800s as a forage source for cattle, it wasn't until 1935 that the number of acres for soybean grain exceeded forage-based acres. This milestone marked the beginning of a new era in soybean production, which has influenced the fertility needs of soybeans.
Required by all plant life, potassium (K) plays a major role in photosynthesis, breakdown of carbohydrates, protein synthesis and disease resistance. Most importantly, it can activate at least 80 enzymes that regulate the rates of major plant growth reactions. The aforementioned activities should all occur in-season, but what can be done to ensure a crop has the proper levels of K to carry out these functions? And should the applications be made in the fall or spring?
When we make a fertilizer recommendation for a farmer, what is it based on? It is usually based on a composite soil sample representing the average fertility of the entire field. When we do this, we fail to address the spatial variability of nutrients in the field resulting from changes in soil type, topography, previous cropping history and many other factors. Even precision farming strategies such as management zones fail to account for all of the spatial variability found in agricultural fields.
Adequate nutrition all season long is a vital component of high-yield, high-quality forage production. Alfalfa specialists suggest building phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) soil fertility levels to high and liming acidic soils to pH 6.5 to 7.0 prior to the establishment process. Then the alfalfa stand will require special attention to fertility maintenance, frequency of harvest, use of crop protection chemicals, and other practices, for years of high-level production.
Sulfur deficiency in corn can masquerade as nitrogen deficiency. Boron deficiency in soybeans may remain hidden — the only sign being a yield below optimal.
There are countless variables growers are forced to consider as they prepare for the upcoming growing season, and almost as many solutions available to counter the effects of these variances. Unfortunately, the list of strategies that prove effective across extremes is a short one, often leaving growers to manage reactively to the unpredictable.
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.
Potatoes are grown in nearly every state in the U.S., with sales in excess of $3 billion. Yield, tuber size and specific gravity (dry-matter content) influence quality factors such as frying properties and flavor. Fertility management decisions can influence these as well as storage properties.
By understanding how nutrients work together, farmers can optimize production and investment in fertilizer while minimizing the opportunity for excess nutrients to negatively impact the environment. Potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) are two vital nutrients that create greater benefits working together than alone.
Langbeinite is a unique source of plant nutrition, since three essential nutrients combine naturally into one mineral. It provides a readily available supply of Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg) and Sulfur (S) to growing plants.