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Soil low on micronutrients?Soil low on micronutrients?

Now is the time to start planning a strategy to manage micronutrients.

November 28, 2018

2 Min Read
BEST TO TEST: Start with fall soil testing for micronutrients, as you plan your fertilizer and other crop input purchases for 2019.

With harvest 2018 in the books, it’s time to look ahead to the 2019 growing season. While considering purchase options to make yet this year, it’s important to factor in a micronutrient strategy. Looking closely at your soils and yield goals for next season is a good place to start.

Kyle Lilly, product manager and certified crop adviser for Compass Minerals Plant Nutrition, says to start with an analysis. “This time of year, we are getting data from yield monitors and maps that can help develop strategies that might impact next season.”

He also recommends starting with a soil test that includes testing for micronutrients to help evaluate the soil and its potential deficiencies. “There are several benefits to testing soil in the fall, including the soil labs are potentially less busy, weather conditions often more favorable, and growers are often able to avoid soil compaction,” Lilly says. “There’s also the added benefit of giving yourself enough time to make critical decisions without the rush of planting.”

Start by testing soil
A soil test can provide information on nutrient content, composition of your soil, its pH and organic matter percentage to inform you about which nutrients may be lacking.  

Building a micronutrient management strategy from all this data is the next step. “Once you have your soil test results, look at how much grain and stubble you’re removing from the field. By researching crop removal rates to see if you’re mining the soil or if you’re building nutrients up, you can determine which micronutrients might benefit your crop to help maximize yield goals,” Lilly says.

When discussing your plan with your trusted crop advisers, consider yield goals for next season and how to use micronutrients. “This year, we’re seeing zinc is often deficient on a lot of corn acres, so if you’re planning a large corn crop in 2019 and have low zinc levels in your soil and the crop plant tissue, consider adding a micronutrient like Wolf Trax Zinc DDP on your granular fertilizer early in the growing season,” he advises.

Plan micronutrient strategy
Looking to 2019, Lilly shares these considerations for planning a micronutrient strategy:

 Buying micronutrients early can have economic benefits, so the earlier you decide, the better.

 Beyond planting applications, consider your season-long strategy to spoon-feed micronutrients throughout the season.

 Mitigate potential in-season micronutrient deficiencies with a plan in place to use topdress, sidedress and foliar application of micronutrients, as needed.

 Take advantage of ag lenders and retailers, agronomists, and others who can help you make decisions during winter.

“Planning ahead may save you money, but can also allow for better nutrient availability, crop productivity, and help you become better stewards of the environment,” Lilly says.

Source: Compass Minerals and Plant Nutrition

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