Despite planting delay, growers should stick to nutrient strategy


With a cool, wet start to the spring across many regions this planting season, growers may find significant early season disease pressure.

“This could result in slow or uneven emergence, early season damping off, and an overall slow start,” said Dr. Ryan Bartlett, Vice President of Innovation and Product Development at Compass Minerals Plant Nutrition.

With these additional stressors in mind, Bartlett advises growers to consider these management tips this growing season:

  • Ensure uniform seed placement in the seed bed. Even though the planting window may be compressed, take the time to calibrate the planter.
  • Use premium seed treatment products to enable those seedlings to fight off early season stress.
  • Utilize a plant fertility program that provides even distribution of both macro and micronutrients, so those small seedling roots can intercept the nutrition you are providing.

Bartlett said when it comes to nutrient management, it can be very crop and field dependent. It’s important to have recent soil samples and to work with an agronomist to develop the right nutritional program for yield goals and soil conditions. Crops like corn need sulfur, magnesium, calcium, copper, manganese, zinc, boron, and iron, and it’s essential to have a strategy for when, where, and how these essential nutrients are going to be provided to the crop. As Barlett points out, there are certain situations where plant nutrients are best soil-applied and other situations where foliar application is more efficient.

“Think of plant nutrition as a key component of your overall cropping system,” Bartlett said. “It is more complicated than just N, P, and K. Even if you have enough of the macronutrients, but are lacking in one single micro, you are sacrificing yield.”

Barlett advises growers to always keep the 4Rs in mind when applying nutrients … apply the right source (type of nutrient) at the right rate at the right time in the right place.

He also suggests these tips when applying nutrients:

  • If applying with N, P, and K, be sure to use a micronutrient program that provides even distribution across the field. The Wolf Trax line of micronutrients made by Compass Minerals Plant Nutrition, is a great tool to accomplish this task.
  • Foliar feeding during the season can really help growers mitigate stress that comes from mother nature (heat, drought, cold, etc.) or from living sources (bugs, weeds, disease). Use premium foliar nutrients in the spray tank every time you make a pass through the field.
  • Tissue sample in-season to determine what your crop may be lacking. You have the ability to rectify deficiencies through a foliar feed with premium, compatible and soluble products like ProAcqua.

Even with planting season delayed for many growers, Compass Minerals has been telling growers to stick to their plans when it comes to nutrient management.

“Even though the planting window may be late or compressed, it is important to follow through with the strategy you have developed for each field,” Bartlett said. “Micronutrients are essential. If you didn’t have the time or the source to get a soil applied micronutrient package out prior to planting, still plan to provide the crop what it needs in furrow, side dressed, or foliar applied.”

Tags: Agriculture News, Farm News, Spring Planting
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