Macro – does not mean more important. Think of macro and micro nutrients as the ‘food’ and ‘multivitamins’ respectively that the plant needs to grow. As humans, we need adequate amount of food to help with our metabolic processes. The multivitamins are important as well. Plants are like humans in this regard. Macro nutrients are divided into primary macro-nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) and secondary macro-nutrients (calcium, magnesium, and sulfur). Primary macro-nutrients are needed in larger quantities than secondary macro-nutrients.
Micro-nutrients such as zinc, iron, manganese, copper, boron, molybdenum, and chlorine are also required by plants but in relatively smaller quantities compared to macro-nutrients. How small is small?
Although plants need more macro-nutrients than they do micro-nutrients, that doesn’t mean that one is more important than the other. The “Law of the Minimum” tells us that the highest yield a grower will get is based on the lowest level of a required nutrient. If the soil is deficient in any macro or micro nutrient, the yield will be limited to the lowest level of that nutrient. Therefore, Balance is key!!!
Imbalance in macro and micro levels doesn’t only lead to the crop not maximising its yield potential but also to soil borne disease and weeds. Sounds familiar? What if that stubborn weeds on your farm can be eradicated by the simplest of methods? Example; did you know that the Canadian thistle thrives better on soils that have low calcium? The importance of nutrient balancing should never be over looked.
More so, it is important to note that Micros can assist with the uptake of macro by activating the plants’ transportation system. Calcium, silicon and Boron play important roles in this regard. Macro and micro nutrients are co-factors that also helps with the plant growth hormone activities. To build bushels, there must be balance in the co-factors and plant hormones at every stage of the crops grow cycle. Nutrient balancing will lead to healthier crops which will be able to withstand pest and disease pressure. Perhaps we should start focusing on improving nutrient uptake efficiency by balancing macro and micro nutrients in our protocols?
Hopefully you found this post helpful. If you want to know more about your crop nutrient needs, contact us – we’d love to chat!