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Tissue samples reveal deficiencies in nation’s crop

To get the most out of a crop, know what nutrients it needs

January 9, 2019

2 Min Read
collecting tissue samples from soybeans
IN-SEASON INFORMATION: Collecting tissue samples from soybeans can help farmers determine plant needs at every growth stage. This year, nationally, soybeans were deficient in copper.

Farmers submitted over 42,000 tissue samples this year to WinField United, and the data shows that crops could likely benefit from fertilization adjustments made in-season.

Here are some nationwide trends revealed through tissue analysis conducted by WinField United in 2018:

• Key essential nutrients for corn were limited. Corn plants could have benefitted from in-season nutrient applications based on analysis of over 26,500 tissue samples submitted from across the country. The most common deficiency was zinc; nearly 78% of sampled plants were short on the nutrient that aids in chlorophyll synthesis and other metabolic functions. Potassium, nitrogen, manganese and boron were also commonly deficient or responsive.

• Soybeans had a sharp increase in copper deficiency. Nearly 75% of soybeans sampled lacked sufficient copper levels to meet plant health needs. This is up 10 percentage points compared to 2017 and 34 percentage points compared to 2016. Copper is a key nutrient for protein synthesis, cell wall formation and many enzyme systems. Most soybeans were also low in potassium based on analysis of over 8,400 soybean tissue samples.

• Wheat lacked micronutrients. Chloride deficiency was widespread across wheat crops last year, with nearly 85% of sampled plants lacking adequate concentrations of the nutrient. Limited availability of chloride can disrupt plant metabolism, including water regulation in cells and plant enzyme activation. Copper, boron, zinc and magnesium were also limited in most wheat crop samples.

• Cotton was deficient in potassium. Nearly 90% of cotton samples fell into the deficient or responsive category for potassium levels in 2018. Potassium is an essential nutrient that is important for fiber development in cotton. Phosphorus and copper were also commonly deficient based on over 1,300 cotton samples submitted for analysis.

• Alfalfa was short on calcium. Like last year, over 90% of the nearly 500 alfalfa samples analyzed had low levels of calcium in 2018. Calcium aids in nitrogen uptake and nutrient absorption, and it contributes to enzyme activity in plants. The majority of alfalfa samples were also short on magnesium, copper, manganese and phosphorus.

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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