Except For Iron And Zinc, Micronutrients Often Not Warranted

Plants require seven micronutrients: boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn).

In Nebraska, deficiencies of iron and zinc can be common, depending on soil properties, but deficiencies of the other five micronutrients are rare.

One case each of boron deficiency has been reported on alfalfa and sugar beets, both on sandy soils. We do not know of any other confirmed micronutrient deficiencies on agronomic crops in Nebraska. With the exception of iron and zinc, the probability of profitable yield response to micronutrients is very low.

However, toxicity associated with misuse of micronutrients is a risk and has been confirmed in Nebraska.

With relatively high crop prices this year, there has been increased interest in products, including micronutrient fertilizers, that are marketed to promote crop growth. Some dealers have even gone to the extreme of mixing such products with commonly used fertilizers, often without informing producers before the invoice is sent.

Do high yield crops need exceptionally high soil availability of micronutrients? More yield means more nutrient removal. However, high yield crops have the potential to be highly efficient in nutrient uptake and utilization. High yield crops are freed from much stress, such as soil water deficits, that low yield crops encounter. High yield crops typically have healthy and extensive root systems capable of efficient nutrient uptake and healthy plants capable of efficiently converting nutrients and carbohydrates to yield. This high efficiency has been repeatedly shown for high yield corn, especially for nitrogen, but also for phosphorus and potassium. There is no evidence to the contrary for micronutrients.

  • Zinc – Zinc deficiency is most likely to occur on low organic matter, calcareous soils, but can occur on other soils. Corn is relatively sensitive to zinc deficiency, and the zinc soil test is a reliable indicator of the probability of profitable response to zinc application. When selecting between inorganic (e.g., zinc sulfate) and chelated (Zn EDTA) zinc products, consider the rates and relative costs. Inorganic zinc (not the product) is applied at two to four times the rate of chelated zinc. The chelated form should be considered for deficiency correction only. If soil test zinc is above 0.8 ppm and application is to build or maintain a high level of availability, use an inorganic form.
  • Iron – Iron deficiency is most common on calcareous soils. Soybean, dry bean, and sorghum are especially sensitive. Planting tolerant crops and varieties is important to management of iron deficiency. Seed dressing with iron EDDHA at 0.2 lb/ac iron has been as effective as applying 50 lb/ac iron as iron sulfate. Use this as a guideline in comparing costs.
  • Boron – Boron application is much promoted; however, the probability of profitable response is extremely low. Applying boron in the seed furrow can be toxic at germination and emergence. Building soil test boron levels is not feasible as it is easily leached from the soil. Irrigation typically supplies enough boron to meet crop needs.
  • Manganese – In some parts of the Corn Belt, glyphosate-tolerant soybean often respond to soil and foliar application of manganese. In trials conducted in southeast and south central Nebraska soybean did not respond to manganese application. In Kansas there was a response to both soil- and foliar-applied manganese at one of four locations. A case of very serious manganese toxicity due to misapplication by a dealership has been verified in Nebraska.
  • Chloride – Crop response to chloride application has occurred in Kansas. There were no yield increases with chloride application in trials conducted with corn in southeast to south central Nebraska and with winter wheat in western Nebraska.
  • Copper and Molybdenum – There is no evidence of crop response to copper and molybdenum in Nebraska.

For more information see NebGuide G1830, Use and Management of Micronutrient Fertilizers in Nebraska.

Leave a Reply

Micronutrients Stories
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
MicronutrientsReport: Demand For Zinc As Micronutrient In Agriculture Grows
May 12, 2014
Zinc is becoming more important to increasing crop yields as global population and food consumption continue to rise. Read More
Sulfur Deficiency In Corn
Micronutrients3 Key Questions For Sulfur Application
February 3, 2014
Match sulfur supply to corn crop’s needs to maximize yields and fertilizer dollars. Read More
Micronutrients11 Tips For Effective Fall Application Of Gypsum
September 26, 2013
Spreading gypsum – which often occurs in late fall, after harvest – is simple if you follow these basic steps from GYPSOIL. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More
ManagementRetail Week: Precision survey, a technology acquisition…
March 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sflilgoj discuss recent travel, the upcoming precision adoption survey, and an unusual sighting at a Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Launching TerraGrow Soil Inoculant
March 20, 2015
TerraGrow is a blend of beneficial bacterial and fungal spores and nutrients carefully designed to promote healthier soil and crops. Read More
Winter Wheat
AdjuvantsMax Systems Debuts New Adjuvant NanoRevolution 2.0
March 18, 2015
Added to a tank mix of glyphosate at the conservative rate of two to four ounces per acre, NanoRevolution 2.0 has proven effective in killing resistant weed species that had already had up to two applications of the leading glyphosate product. Read More
Photo credit: United Soybean Board/the Soybean Checkoff
Seed/BiotechAgnition Launches Microbial Catalyst Seed Treatment
March 18, 2015
Agnition it has launched Commence for Soybeans, a microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and a superior growth environment. Read More
4R Certified, Nutrient Stewardship Council,
StewardshipTyler Grain & Fertilizer Now 4R Certified
March 18, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Tyler Grain & Fertilizer Co. in Smithville, OH, has been added to Read More