What micronutrients do you really need?
This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist with Nebraska Extension. Let’s answer two questions. Should you cut your micronutrient fertilizer program this year? Are certain micronutrients more critical in corn versus soybeans?
Zinc, copper, manganese, iron, boron, chloride, nickel, and molybdenum are plant essential micronutrients. Here in the Western Corn Belt, deficiencies have not been observed in copper, manganese, or nickel. Just because you read an article about copper problems in Indiana does not mean it is applies to our growing region!
Molybdenum deficiencies are very rare and maintaining soil pH above 5.5 with lime for legume crops is the best solution. So don’t apply molybdenum, apply lime.
Boron deficiency is very rare here and may occur in alkaline, leached sandy soils during drought conditions. The only crop I usually consideration boron application for is alfalfa.
Yield responses to chloride in wheat, grain sorghum, and corn have been documented in Kansas. If you are remotely worried, apply potash, our most common potassium fertilizer, also called potassium chloride, at 20-40 lbs/acre ahead of your corn crop this spring.
Iron deficiency chlorosis in soybean and zinc deficiency in corn are the two big ones for us. To learn more about iron and zinc, tune in next week at the same time. In summary, there are many cases where micronutrient fertilizer mixes are simply not needed and not profitable.
Know your soil, know your crop, know your bottom line. Call me at 727-2775 or visit our local website at croptechcafe.org. This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist with Nebraska Extension on KTIC radio.