Foliar fertilization can be a very useful crop production tool, especially during stressful environmental conditions. However, supplying nutrients to crops by spraying leaves can be a challenge. There are four essential steps when selecting and applying foliar fertilizers to help maximize the return on your investment.Understand What The Crop Needs
Soil tests are useful in ascertaining the nutrient status of a field, but even if a nutrient is present in the soil, it may not be available to the crop. Tissue testing is a technique that can pinpoint which nutrients (or lack there of) is actually limiting crop growth. The correct interpretation of these analyses is key to their effectiveness. We advise speaking to a qualified agronomist with the most current information on the newest soil and crop tissue evaluation techniques.
It is also important to consider the environmental conditions and how they could be affecting the crops nutrient dynamics throughout the growing season. For example, in cold soils in the spring, zinc is less available to the crop, but zinc is also a critical nutrient for early root development. In dry conditions, crops can benefit greatly from higher potassium levels, however this nutrient is taken up in smaller quantities in dry soils. In saturated soil, root growth slows or even stops all together and, as a consequence, crops generally take up less nutrition from the soil, hindering overall growth and yield production. All of this together means that determining the correct nutrient to foliar apply should begin with soil and tissue tests and be adjusted based on environmental conditions.
Apply At The Optimal Time
Crops require varying amounts of nutrients throughout the growing season based on their stage of development. Applying particular nutrients at specific times can significantly improve the effectiveness of foliar applied fertilizers. This is exemplified by the application of K and Mg during fruit development, which supports the development of large, healthy fruit. Another example is the increased need for available boron during flower development and fertilization. This is because of the role that boron plays in pollen tube formation in flowers. Phosphorus is most significantly required early in the growing season to support aggressive root development and crop establishment. The degree to which crops benefit from foliar applied nutrients varies throughout the growing season and is further influenced by the environmental conditions, as noted above.
Use The Most Powerful Product
The overall effectiveness of foliar fertilizers is determined by the ability of nutrients to move into the leaves and be effectively utilized by the crop. The barrier to foliar nutrient uptake is a waxy layer on the leaf surface known as the cuticle. The primary nutrient pathways through the cuticle are the polar pores. The most effective foliar fertilizers use well-researched technologies that are specifically designed to safely and effectively move nutrients through the cuticle using the polar pores.
Support Higher Yields With Strong Soil Nutrition
Foliar fertilization is a great way to supply necessary micronutrients and to supplement crops with additional macronutrients. However, a sound soil fertility program is vital. Foliar fertilization can push crops to higher yields, but these higher yields need to be supported with strong soil nutrition. Planning a soil and foliar fertility program that supplies the fundamental nutrients at the right times provides crops with what is needed to maximize yields. NutriAg’s Max and TruPhos lines of foliar fertilizers use leading technologies to safely and effectively deliver essential in-season crop nutrition.
How To Get Started
NutriAg is offering FBN Members a special price on its crop nutrient and adjuvant products. To see the latest offer details, log into your FBN℠ account, go to the FBN Direct™ page and click the Fertilizer section to find NutriAg's offer.
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Blog post was contributed by NutriAg, a supplier of crop nutrients and agricultural adjuvants, which is available on FBN Direct Marketplace. © 2018 NutriAg Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and not those of Farmer's Business Network, Inc., its affiliates or members.