By The Andersons Agronomy Team
When building an effective foliar program for growers, it is important to understand a crop’s nutrient needs as it develops. Feeding crops the proper nutrients throughout the season can help maximize a crop’s genetic potential.
When feeding in-season, there are different objectives you are helping growers achieve: 1. encourage plant health, 2. defeat nutrient deficiencies, and 3. feed the plant to harvest. Encouraging plant health focuses on providing nutrients during early vegetative growth and building the factory that will produce the grain during critical growth stages. Defeating deficiencies targets the mid-season growth spurt that occurs after V6 by delivering essential nutrients. Finally, feeding the plant focuses on overcoming late-season stress to avoid kernel abortion occurring through R4.
The corn plant goes through numerous stressful periods during the first six weeks after emergence. Once a corn plant emerges from the soil, it will grow one leaf stage per week. Sometimes the internodes will expand faster or slower than normal, depending on the growing conditions, so never gauge how “old” a corn plant is by the height. Instead, always count the collars or V stages of the corn, Figure 1. By V6 the corn plant will have determined the maximum rows of kernels that will be around the cob. In order to reduce stress during this critical growth stage, The Andersons suggests applying a combination of macro and micronutrients with growth and plant enhancers. The Andersons Phosfix® has a 7-4-9 analysis with micronutrients and plant hormones. Phosfix contains cytokinins, gibberellic acid, and auxins. These plant hormones help with cell division, cell elongation, and cell differentiation, respectively. The micronutrient-based product contains phosphite to reduce stress, prevent disease, and increase crop yield. Apply Phosfix at a rate of 1pt/ac at the V4 to V6 growth stage to encourage plant health.
Growers cannot let up on the gas pedal during the mid-season for corn as this is when stress can reduce the length of the ear and hinder pollination. During the late ear/grain development stage, boron and molybdenum are in great demand. The Andersons offers two products with a healthy dose of boron, OverPass® CF (22-0-2, 1S + .5B) and Eezy™ Moly-B (5-0-0, 8B + 1Mo). OverPass CF has 25% slow-release nitrogen which helps prevent tissue damage while applying nitrogen during grain development. In addition to boron, Eezy-Moly B contains molybdenum which is essential for nitrogen use efficiency within the plant. OverPass CF and Eezy Moly-B can both be applied via plane at VT paired with a fungicide application.
Feed the Plant
Late-season application of a foliar fertilizer is when a grower can directly influence the size and weight of the harvestable seed. The best time for increasing soybean yields is the R3 stage when the newly developed seed pod is 1/4-inch-long on the 4th node from the top. The Andersons suggests applying OverPass SF (10-2-10, .5B + .25Mn) at 1 gal/ac at the R3 stage of soybeans. The nitrogen in OverPass SF is 25% slow release which allows it to be applied on flowering plants without burning the tissue or hurting the blooms. The micronutrients boron and manganese are heavily used during the reproductive stage. Keep in mind glyphosate can inhibit the plant’s uptake of manganese during this critical time.
There are three decisive periods during a crop’s life when an application of a foliar fertilizer can make the difference between an average and exceptional crop. Contact your local sales representative at The Andersons for more information about the right product at the right stage for your growers’ operations.
A fall-applied fertilizer program, followed by the application of a high-quality, low-salt starter at planting, will reach 90% of the crop’s maximum potential. In order to reach 100% of the crop’s potential, a season-long approach to fertilization is essential. In the 2019 studies below, an application of a foliar fertilizer resulted in a yield increase between 8-12%. To view additional 2019 research results with The Andersons’ products, view their newly-released 2019 Research Trials guide.
Last year in a trial conducted in Walton, Indiana, a 12% yield increase in soybeans was observed when OverPass SF was applied at the R3 growth stage in soybeans at a rate of 1gal/acre. In this trial, no visual symptoms of deficiency were present, and soil test levels were sufficient.
Last year at The Andersons’ Walton, Indiana, test plot, Phosfix was applied at a rate of 1pt/acre at the V5 growth stage in corn. This foliar application resulted in a yield increase of 8% compared to the untreated check.
For additional information on foliar fertilizer products from The Andersons, visit these resources:
- Podcast: 3 Essential Parts To An Effective Foliar Program
- Podcast: Podcast: A Season-Long Game Plan for Corn
- Blog: Foliar Fertilizer Do’s and Don’ts
- Blog: Avoid stress with foliar fertilizers from The Andersons
- The Andersons Approved Tank Mix Partners
Contact a trusted advisor at The Andersons for pricing or questions.
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