Missouri farmers submitted 220 corn tissue samples to WinField United for analysis this year. It was no surprise that environmental conditions and in-season stress made nutrient availability a struggle for crops this season.
As harvest began, the effects of nutrient deficiency were witnessed in some cornfields in the form of uneven ear height, poorly pollinated corn ears and weak stalks. This year’s in-season tissue sampling gave farmers a real-time snapshot of crop fertility, allowing for adjustments that helped protect yield potential.
Based on sampling data, 90% of corn was deficient in zinc across the state. More than 80% of samples also were deficient for boron and nitrogen. Sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese also were deficient or responsive in a majority of samples submitted.
More than 80% of soybeans sampled in Missouri during reproductive stages were deficient or responsive for copper. A majority of soybeans also were limited by sulfur, potassium and manganese.
Using the analysis from samples taken in 2019, farmers can identify how nutrient deficiencies and unbalanced nutrient ratios may have affected their yield potential. Those insights can help inform fertilization strategies for 2020.
Supplementing soil nutrients will be important to overcome some of the nutritional challenges crops faced in 2019. Work with your agronomist to evaluate crop health and develop fertility programs specific for your acres.
Across the country, more than 45,000 samples were analyzed by WinField. Here are some key takeaways:
Corn. The most common deficiency was zinc. More than 80% of corn sampled was short.
Soybeans. Nearly 75% of soybeans were potassium deficient.
Wheat. Chloride deficiency was widespread in 2019, totaling more than 87% of samples.
Cotton. Nearly 95% of samples were deficient in potassium, up from nearly 90% in 2018.
Alfalfa. Tissue samples proved alfalfa had low levels of calcium.
Based on the analysis, WinField United recommends that farmers sample tissues and reevaluate 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.