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.
Magnesium (Mg) is one of three secondary macronutrients, along with calcium and sulfur, required for balanced crop nutrition. Often overlooked, Mg deficiencies can lead to reduced crop growth and yield.
Unfenced: What are the steps a farmer might take to improve his or her preparation for increased success in 2016?
The growing season of 2014 has the potential to yield a record harvest in many areas of the country. With good weather conditions, high soil fertility and a combination of high-yielding varieties, crops look strong and healthy. But there’s more being removed from the fields than just a crop harvest — record yields mean record nutrient removal from the soil.
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.
There are a number of factors indicating the need for producers to increase future fertilizer use and efficiency. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology’s (CAST) recent study on the demand for more food, fuel and fiber puts these projected increases in perspective for producers.
The right time to take soil samples is in rhythm with the crop rotation. Normally it’s best to sample following back-to-back plantings of the same crop, which creates a consistent basis for comparing fields and picking out trends over time. Most samples are taken in late summer and fall to allow ample time for planning a crop nutrition program based on the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship — applying the right nutrient source, at the right rate, time and place. But, in a drought, is fall sampling still a good idea? Yes. And the facts support it.
Despite record corn yields in some parts of the country, low commodity prices may increase soybean acres in 2015. Rotating crops from corn to soybeans is a common practice; however, with the record yields comes record nutrient removal.
Drought is a simple and unfortunate fact of life that farmers must endure from time to time. Those who went before us endured these challenges, and so will today’s farmers. Nevertheless, given ongoing extreme weather conditions, it’s sensible to review a few of the basic considerations farmers must weigh when planning fertilizer applications for their suffering fields.