Foliar Micronutrient Applications

Foliar Micronutrient Applications
Jon Schmitz, Agronomy Sales Manager (507) 434-0016

Since the dawn of agriculture farmers have been utilizing new tools and technologies to continually improve their operations to take their crop and livestock production to the next level: improving efficiencies, increasing yields, boosting productivity, raising farm income, and continuing to bolster their return on investment.


As we look back on the modern era of production agriculture it’s easy to see some of the great advancements that have been made over time. Such things as the innovation of hybrid seed selection, row crop planters, manufactured fertilizer, the onset of pesticides to control weeds and insects, and so many other things that we now take for granted were huge advancements that raised the bar for modern farming practices. There have been so many advancements even in the past decade or two but sometimes the small incremental changes we make to our operations do not seem to resonate as much as the big ticket items. Yet, they can have a big impact crop production and your bottom line. 


One area that continues to grow at our locations is tissue testing and foliar micro nutrient applications, particularly in corn.  As we look to gain top end yield and continue to push our yield environments I believe this will be an area we need to focus on more along with many others.   Tissue testing prior to a post application of herbicide at V4 or V5 in corn can determine the potential need to add a micro nutrient to the tank if deficiencies are present. 2014 tissue testing results in Minnesota indicate that 73% of samples take were deficient in Boron, 67% were deficient in Manganese, and 84% were deficient in Zinc.  In 2015 there was a 6 bushel response to a v5 application of Max in ZMB at responsive answer plot sites.   Farmer trials in 2015 showed a 4.6 bushel response to an application of Max in ZMB. (2015 answers from the Answer Plot by Winfield) Another interesting statistic from this data is that there were increased levels of N, P, K, and S when zinc was sufficient in the plant. 
(See chart). 


Tissue testing is another tool we can use to help us make decisions to maximize our yield potential and return on our investments.  However, it’s important to have the basics down first.  A good up front fertility program, nitrogen management, hybrid selection, pH management, soil drainage, and general crop management program are key elements to maximizing the potential of a foliar application of micronutrients.  Talk to your All American Co-op Progressive Ag Center agronomist about pulling tissue tests prior to your herbicide applications to determine the need and potential response of a foliar application of micronutrients.  

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