Have you ever wondered what the best timing to foliar apply nutrients to your crop is? Growers know that there are many interconnecting factors that affects crop management and building bushels. Knowing when to apply the right crop nutrient, in this case, micronutrient foliar application, is an important dynamic in the process of building bushel.
Here we look at some of the conditions that promote effective foliar fertilizer application and utilization.
Foliar application can act as a supplement only (not a replacement) to soil fertilizer application. However, under some conditions, foliar applications can actually be more beneficial/effective. Here are some of these conditions;
- High Soil pH (too acidic or too alkaline)
- Temperature stress
- High Soil moisture (too high or too low)
- High Pests/insect pressure
- High variability in soil nutrient throughout the growing field
- Root/soil borne disease pressure
In all of these conditions, the prevailing condition significantly slows down nutrient uptake by the plant. Adding more nutrients to the soil in this case will not be as effective and only result in costly waste and potential environmental damage. Foliar application can help mitigate/solve these problems, strengthen the plant and enable it to thrive under the stress conditions outlined above. In most cases, foliar application can be beneficial because the nutrient uptake by the plant will be faster and enable the plant to recover quicker than through soil application.
Furthermore, in some growth phases of crop cycle, foliar application may be more effective. This depends on the crop type and soil conditions. This is the main reason why testing and custom fertilizer combinations are proving to be more effective in recent years.
There are a number of factors that determine the effectiveness of foliar application. Some of those factors include the solubility of the nutrients, pH of the fertilizer, time of day, the EC of the foliar fertilizer and droplet size and retention. For example, the nutrients have to be soluble in order for the plant to absorb them. Also, the time of the day affects how the crops absorbs the nutrients. Foliar spraying close to when the crop stomata will be opened will be more valuable. Soil pH plays an important role in micronutrient absorption from the root. High or low soil pH ties up most of the soil nutrients. As a result of these outlined factors, it is safe to say that different crops and different soils need different nutrient prescriptions at different timing. This is yet another reason why foliar nutrient application should be considered via a customisation process that takes into consideration the type of crop, the nutrient needs of the plant, environmental conditions and soil/tissue analysis results. If these factors are not planned into your foliar formulation, it can cause negative effects on the crops yield. For example, too high nutrient concentrations along with the wrong timing of application can be detrimental to the crops.
If you are concerned that you are not applying the correct type and concentration of foliar crop health therapy formulations at the right timing, then talk to one of our expert crop health advisers and they will be able to help.
Hopefully you found this post helpful. If you want to know more about your crop nutrient needs, contact us – we’d love to chat!
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What are Chelates?
A chelate is a chemical compound that is formed when nutrients bind with certain organic acids. This process is referred to as “Chelation” and it enables nutrients to travel within the plant cells and prevents them from leaving the plants leaves via evaporation.
The biochemistry of Chelation can be quite complex so here we will focus more on the benefits of Chelation and how that process can help crops grow and increase yield.
Benefits of Chelation
Here are a few benefits to Chelation;
- Increases the availability of Macro and Micro nutrients to the plant.
- Reduces the loss of nutrients through precipitation and preserving the nutrients within the plant
- Increases the ability of plant nutrients to move around within the plant cells
Although there are other benefits such as reducing some metal toxicity to the plants, the benefits that Chelates have on nutrient uptake and use by the plant is one of the more important aspects we want to focus on here.
Using Chelation to increase crop yields
It is easy to see why chelation plays an important role in increasing crop yields. In foliar application, chelates can help ensure the maximum amount of nutrients are absorbed. This has a positive effect on the crop growth and on growers’ wallets. Since the plant absorbs more of the nutrients being applied, it saves the grower from having to spend more on nutrients. This also results in less contamination of soils and reduces environmental damage.
Another often overlooked benefit of Chelation is the ability to aid in preventing crop stress and disease. Since more of the nutrients are absorbed, the plant is stronger, healthier, and more able to recover from disease.
The best analogy we can use here is the use of multivitamins for humans – multivitamins in of themselves are not a cure for disease but if taken consistently to supplement a persons’ diet, they can help the body fight off disease and reduce the symptoms and duration of some diseases when they happen. This is consistent with our previous “plant pharmacy” theme, if plants are given nutrients in their Chelated form, it will ensure that nutrient uptake is consistent and the plant is stronger and more able to fight off diseases.
If you want to know more about how we use Chelates to help enhance crop yields, contact us – we’d love to chat! If you liked this post, please share it.
We’ve written about ways to improve yields in other blog posts and we will add to that information here. This topic is important to you and that’s why it is important to us.
As with animals, some environmental factors cause a stress response in plants. However, unlike humans and animals, plants are not mobile, they are tied to one location and are not able to “leave” and avoid the environmental stress.
As a result, plants have developed different mechanisms to help them cope with environmental stresses. One of those mechanisms is the ability to “identify” the conditions of the environment around them. For example, when a plant faces drought conditions, cellular membranes are equipped with proteins (called CAR proteins) that identify the drought and signal to the rest of the plant.
The plant response is to close the holes in the leaves and retain water, however when water is plentiful, the proteins signal to the plant to keep the holes open and promote regular function. In a previous post we also mentioned the role of plant hormones; Auxins, Gibberellins, Cytokinins, and Abscisic acid in plant growth and function.
Understanding the physiological interactions of plant hormones as well as the effect that stress has on plants allows scientists to develop better testing systems and of course, improved treatment methods. This is yet another reason that custom fertilizer and the use of our protocol systems can be beneficial for growers.
Using tested technology, crop health experts are able to determine the type and level of stress the plant is under and develop a treatment regimen that will help the plant get back to normal operations.
If you want to know more about how science and technological advancement can help enhance crop yields, contact us – we’d love to chat! If you liked this post, please share it.