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Boosting corn yields with essential micronutrients

Boosting corn yields with essential micronutrients

By Andi Anderson

Micronutrients, though required in smaller amounts, play a crucial role in the health and yield of corn crops.

Shane Irlbeck, an agronomist with LG Seeds, highlights the importance of these nutrients, particularly as challenging weather conditions can lead to deficiencies.

Irlbeck notes, “With the longer emergence period due to cooler and wet conditions, it’s likely we’ll see more deficiencies showing up in the coming weeks. While we can’t control nature, we can take steps to help ensure crops have the best possible start.”

Micronutrients like iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, molybdenum, and chlorine are vital for plant development, disease resistance, and overall productivity.

Identifying deficiencies early is key. Symptoms often first appear on new leaves or tissues as the plant shifts from seed-based energy to root establishment.

Common deficiencies include zinc, manganese, and boron. Zinc is essential for cell division and shows up as pale-yellow striping on leaves, manganese aids in photosynthesis and appears as yellowing leaves, and boron is crucial for pollination and reproductive development.

Soil health plays a significant role in nutrient availability. Irlbeck advises, “Make sure your soil pH is ideal for nutrient availability — in the 6.5 to 6.8 range for corn.”

Regular soil tests can detect deficiencies early, allowing for targeted fertilization strategies. In regions with high pH soils, improving drainage can help manage salt levels and adjust pH, optimizing conditions for micronutrient uptake.

Considering tissue testing can provide a more detailed understanding of plant health, revealing whether nutrients present in the soil are adequately being absorbed by the plants.

Farmers should also consider foliar applications to quickly address any detected deficiencies, especially during critical growth stages.

This approach can complement soil management to ensure plants receive a balanced supply of nutrients throughout the season.

Irlbeck concludes, “Look at your soil test before the year, compare it to tissue samples and find where micronutrient balance is needed.”

This proactive approach in managing micronutrients ensures that corn plants are vigorous, resistant to stress, and capable of producing high yields.

Consult with a local agronomist like those at LG Seeds to tailor a nutrient management plan suited to your fields’ specific conditions.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-dszc

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Categories: Indiana, Crops, Corn

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