Applying foliar nutrients gives you the ability to apply nutrients the plant needs as it is developing. Plants have increased demands for certain nutrients during growth stages. Applying the foliar nutrients at the ideal time and in the appropriate form, improves plant health and development to increase overall crop yields.
Foliar nutrition should be an important part of your overall crop fertilization strategy to maximize crop yields. Be proactive with foliar nutrition rather than just using it to fix a problem. If you wait until you see a nutrient deficiency, a large amount of potential crop yield will have already been lost.
Best Timing for Foliar Nutrition
Foliar nutrition is different, but equally important to applying nutrients to the soil. Applying foliar nutrients gives you the ability to apply nutrients in a form that a plant can very easily take up and utilize. Usually these nutrients are also needed in much smaller amounts, so it allows you to apply them on more of a prescriptive basis and at a time when the plants especially need these nutrients for early growth or reproduction. Foliar nutrient applications can also be timed for when the plants have rapid demands for specific nutrients either due to soil or weather conditions.
There are some very critical times throughout the year when foliar applications are the most beneficial. Timing will vary across crops and geographies, but a key time to focus on foliar nutrition is around the plant’s reproductive time, closer to pollination and seed set. With soybeans, you want to target the flowering and early pod set. By helping the soybean plants retain more pods and maximize pod set, growers could see a nice increase in soybean yields come harvest time.
With corn, zinc is a micronutrient that is important during early growth and the grain filling stage. There is an increased demand for the micronutrient boron at pollination. By making sure that the plant has sufficient boron, is a great way to help with corn pollen formation and to encourage pollen tube growth. By applying boron as a foliar application, you can help the corn plant pollinate more kernels on each ear, even with some environmental stresses during the season. Boron is also an important nutrient for alfalfa.
Foliar nutrient applications can often be combined with herbicide, insecticide or fungicide applications to gain efficiencies with regards to labor and not having to make additional passes across the field. For example, you can target copper on wheat before flag leaf application as it fits nicely with the early fungicide program that is taking place at that time. Planning in advance is so important because it helps you time nutrient and crop protection applications together as appropriate.
Foliar Nutrients Solutions Provide Multiple Options
Foliar nutrition can help improve a crop’s yield potential, even with tougher or more adverse conditions. While we can’t control the weather, we can build a fertility program to help crops perform better with the conditions that exist within the growing season.
The following are three categories of foliar nutrients and some products available through West Central in each of the categories:
These products provide excellent uptake and quick response making them a very cost effective micronutrient option for foliar application.
- EB Mix® – This blend of nitrogen, sulfur, boron, iron, manganese and zinc provide “extra bushels” for your crop come harvest. The nutrients in EB Mix provide benefits to many crops, including soybeans, dry bean, corn, sweet corn, wheat, alfalfa, potatoes and sugarbeets.
- Tachline™ – This blend of four essential nutrients includes sulfur, zinc, manganese and boron. Tachline can be applied as a foliar application and is compatible with multiple pesticides.
These products are chelated with EDTA to keep the micro-nutrients separate from other products in the tank mix for reduced antagonism, so they can be applied with other crop nutrient and crop protection products as appropriate.
- Four Score™ – This nutrient blend is a combination of nitrogen, soluble potash, copper, iron, manganese and zinc. Four-Score enhances plant growth for alfalfa, canola, corn, dry edible beans, potatoes, sugarbeets, sunflowers and wheat.
- Equation™ – Designed to provide a complex balance of nutrients including phosphorus, potassium, boron, iron manganese, zinc and copper. The combination and ratio of nutrients in Equation have shown to provide less antagonism and improve weed control when tank-mixed with glyphosate and other herbicides.
EDDHA chelated nutrients
EDDHA chelated micro-nutrients show increased foliar uptake and translocation within the plant by preventing micro-nutrients from forming insoluble bonds with other nutrients.
- Copper Field™ – As a foliar application, Copper-Field includes a low salt highly efficient form of nitrogen, plus copper and iron. Copper-Field enhances rapid nitrogen absorption, corrects copper deficiencies in wheat and aids in the uptake and translocation of other nutrients.
For more on these foliar nutrients and others available from West Central Distribution, visit wcdst.com.