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Determine nutritional needs of your crops with tissue testing

WinField United analysts sampled thousands of plants, detected multiple nutrient deficiencies.

December 5, 2019

3 Min Read
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CORN SAMPLING: WinField United scientists say that tissue sampling revealed shortages of boron, nitrogen and zinc along with sulfur, potassium, phosphorus and manganese. Photo courtesy of WinField United.Courtesy of WinField United

Knowing what nutrients your crops need and when they need them enables farmers to make timely applications of needed amendments. Given the multiple challenges of the growing season of 2019 made it a particularly useful year for seeing how plants responded and what results farmers who took in-season action saw.

WinField United took thousands of tissue samples in Kansas fields and discovered that crops across the state suffered from several micro- and macronutrient deficiencies that may have limited yield potential. Those farmers who did act to address those deficiencies likely saw benefits at harvest.

Kansas crops deficient in key nutrients

Kansas farmers submitted nearly 1,400 corn tissue samples for analysis by WinField United in 2019. Based on sampling data, more than 75% of corn was deficient in boron, nitrogen and zinc across the state. A majority of the samples were also deficient or responsive for sulfur, potassium, phosphorus and manganese.

Tissue testing revealed soybeans were limited in potassium, sulfur, manganese, copper and phosphorus.

Nutrient balance is critical

Tissue testing gives a real-time snapshot of a plant’s nutrient status and allows farmers to make in-season amendments to maintain plant health. The analysis also helps farmers assess if nutrients are balanced in a plant, so they can identify ways to improve nutrient availability to their crops.

For example, research shows that in order for a plant to convert nitrogen to protein, it needs adequate sulfur. For high-yielding crops, a 10:1 ratio of nitrogen to sulfur is ideal for optimizing protein production, WinField analysts said.

The WinField United sampling database includes more than 600,000 data points that help identify nutrient trends based on geography, soil type and environmental conditions. Based on the analysis, WinField United recommends that farmers tissue sample and re-evaluate fertilization plans annually and throughout the growing season.

While trends can be recognized across the state, each field and season is different, so plants should be tested to ensure proper fertilization. Factors that can affect nutrient availability to plants include soil type and pH, crop rotation, planting population. and environmental conditions.

Using the analysis from samples taken in 2019, farmers can identify how nutrient deficiencies and unbalanced nutrient ratios may have impacted their yield potential. Those insights can help inform fertilization strategies for 2020, analysts said.

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SOYBEAN SAMPLES: WinField United analysts said that Kanas soybeans showed that most fields were limited in potassium, sulfur, copper, manganese and phosphorus.

Supplementing soil nutrients will be incredibly important to overcome some of the nutritional challenges crops faced in 2019. Winfield United urges farmers to work with their locally owned and operated WinField United retailers to evaluate crop health and develop fertility programs specific for your acres.

For complete information about WinField United plant nutrition and performance solutions, visit winfieldunited.com.

WinField United is the seed, crop protection products, agricultural services and agronomic insights business of Land O’Lakes, Inc. The business focuses on meeting the needs of nearly 1,300 locally owned and operated cooperative and independent agricultural retailers and its grower-customers across the U.S.

Source: WinField United, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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