Where do micronutrients stand going forward in fertility plans? For one thing, Tim Mundorf, Field Representative with Midwest Laboratories, says more growers are doing micronutrient testing. “In my trade area, there’s always been an emphasis on sulfur and zinc and that continues. But I’m getting more and more people looking at manganese and boron especially. Not saying they’re all applying, they’re at least looking.”
Eric Gordon, Plant Manager with BRANDT, Lincoln, IL, believes growers who have used micros and seen the value will continue to use them. “But I think any new sales will be hard without some strong on-farm trials to prove their value,” he admits.
Micronutrients are still not top of mind for everybody, but they seem to pay for themselves more times than not, finds Daryl Warren, Vice President of Agronomy at Ceres Solutions, Crawfordsville, IN. “We’re getting more and more activity in that space every year,” he says.
To be sure, the industry has seen tremendous growth in micro use over the last five years, points out Bill Engel, Senior Vice President with BRANDT Specialty Formulations. Today they are used throughout the growing cycle — from planting up until two to three months before harvest. Conventionally, most micronutrients have been soil applied at planting and in early plant growth stages.
A factor in future adoption will be delivery of the products. “New technologies in foliar application have been very successful in delivering late season nutrition after plants have utilized most of their nutrient reserves,” says Engel.
Indeed, now manufacturers are also looking at delivering foliar micros that are compatible with the new herbicide systems designed for new seed traits. BRANDT has been working on nutrient formulations for these traits and