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Boron – How to Extend Nutrient Availability

Although boron (B) is considered the most deficient micronutrient in the world after zinc, dynamics of B use in plants and soils have continued to perplex farmers, agronomists and researchers for decades.

Looking Beyond the Big Three in Soybeans

The objective of a recently published study conducted by University of Illinois plant physiologist Dr. Fred Below and recent doctoral graduates Dr. Ross Bender and Dr. Jason Haegele was to identify which secondary macronutrients and micronutrients demand attention in a new era of soybean production.

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The Gap Between Macros and Micros Is Smaller than You Think

Even with the increased focus on micronutrients and their importance to crop health and yields, basing a solid nutrient management plan on macronutrients is still critical. While macronutrients and micronutrients certainly work best together to create a balanced approach to crop nutrition, the key difference between them is the amount needed for proper plant growth.

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Boron: A Micronutrient that Requires Micromanagement

Boron is a micronutrient critical to the growth and health of all crops. It is a component of plant cell walls and reproductive structures. Boron can be found in soil solution, adsorbed to soil surfaces, organic matter, and is part of soil mineralogy. Boron is a mobile nutrient, meaning that it is prone to movement within the soil.

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Boron’s Importance in Plant Development and Growth

One of the micronutrients that is essential for crop health also happens to be one of the most deficient in the majority of fields: boron.

Soil pH Levels Indicate a Need to Adjust P and Zn Fertility in Soybeans

Raising a productive crop depends greatly on the nutrients a plant is able to access during its life cycle. Many factors influence the availability of those nutrients, including soil pH. For instance, as soil pH increases, the availability of phosphorus (P), zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) decreases. Although variety selection can help manage iron deficiency in soybeans, fertilizer application is still needed to address the P and Zn deficiencies prevalent in high-pH soils.

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Thinking Small — With a Focus on Zinc

In farming, little things can add up to make a big difference. This is certainly the case when it comes to balanced crop nutrition.

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Boron: A Key Consideration in High Yield Systems

As yield levels increase, so does the demand for nutrients not often considered as standard practice. This means that a high-yield system requires more attention be paid to micronutrients. In fact, is it possible that we are pushing the limits of our soil as we push yields to the next level.

Corn Rootworm-Resistant Traits and Nutrient Removal

Rapid adoption of rootworm-resistant corn hybrids in the past five years has helped many farmers take corn yields to the next level. While corn varieties with insect resistance traits have eased insect control, it's important to remember that the investment in high-tech seed must be paired with other state-of-the-art agronomic practices, including a strong soil fertility program and balanced crop nutrition.

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McLaughlin wins 2015 IFA Norman Borlaug Award

Dr. Mike McLaughlin, an expert on phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients, recently was named the recipient of the 2015 IFA Norman Borlaug Award. He has conducted soil science and fertility research on five continents: Africa, Australia, Asia, and North and South America.

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Going Micro for Macro Results

High seed prices, volatile commodity markets, unpredictable weather: It’s a long list of big concerns that keeps farmers up at night. It’s those concerns that make the details that drive return on investment of paramount importance. Details like micronutrients.

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Unfenced Answers: Adequate Micronutrient Levels?

"As much as 60 percent of yield depends on soil fertility," says Curt Woolfolk, senior agronomist at The Mosaic Company. "Regardless of what we spend on crop inputs, if we haven't taken care of our base soil fertility, we're not going to maximize the yield potential of the crop."