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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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.
Stress is one of the major limitations to crop growing worldwide. As crop growers and crop input consultants, knowing how to manage crop stress by utilising macro/micro nutrients and plant growth hormones (PGH) is important. The right combination of Macro/micro nutrients & PGH’s can be used to help the crop develop tolerance to prevailing stress conditions. This will further help to alleviate the adverse effect of stress on the crops.
There is no de facto way of managing crop stress. Depending on the type of stress, the crop, crop stage (timing) and other biotic and abiotic factors, a combination of remedial approaches might be necessary to trigger certain responds by the crop to overcome stress. These include but are not limited to the following mechanism:
- Improved root growth to increase the uptake of water which helps in stomata regulation.
- Maintaining high tissue water potential.
- Improved stress tolerance by osmotic adjustment.
- Activating the physiological, biochemical and metabolic processes in the Crop.
Reactive oxygen species and crop stress.
Crops respond to stress i.e drought, water-logging, frost damage, hail damage pest winter cropping conditions etc. in a similar fashion by increased generation of reactive oxygen species aka (ROS). This increase is as a result of the accumulation of energy in stressed crop. The accumulation of energy increases photo-oxidation and damages the chloroplast membrane. Most of the activities initiated by the increase in ROS during stressful conditions are toxic and hence detrimental to the crops.
Foliar application of the right crop health nutrients, at the right timing and concentration will help the crop trigger activities that will increase the concentration of antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD) in the plant cells. These antioxidants will help decrease the ROS levels, reduce the photo-oxidation and help maintain the integrity of chloroplast membrane. These activities will then lead to an increase in the photosynthetic rate in the crop thus, making the crop more stress tolerant.
N:B. Nothing replaces water by rainfall or irrigation. Our protocols are only meant to give the crops tolerance to water unavailability.