2019 marks the 350th anniversary of Henning Brand’s discovery of phosphorus, making this the perfect opportunity to reflect on our relationship with the element: what was our farming like without it, how did it change our current farming practices and how should we manage it to preserve its sustainability?
Like humans, plants require certain key nutrients to grow well, develop, reproduce and remain healthy. The performance of a crop in the field depends on the genetic makeup of the variety grown, fertility and pesticides programs, and interaction with the environment.
The elements required by plants and obtained from soil and/or fertilizers encompass major nutrients (aka macronutrients), secondary nutrients, and micronutrients (aka trace elements). The qualification of major and minor nutrients comes from the relative abundance and requirement for various functions in plants.
We at OMEX believe in supporting agriculture education and the dedicated people around the world who help deliver it. In this spirit, we are proud to be a partner of the Manyinga Project, supporting Manitoba producer Art Enns in his effort to grow 40 acres of canola, the revenue from which he will donate to the project.
The Manyinga Project operates two schools for orphaned and vulnerable children in the Manyinga region of Zambia, Africa. Along with the state curriculum, the two schools teach the children to grow field crops, fruits, vegetables and to raise goats – all crucial life skills they will need to support themselves, since subsistence farming is the primary way of life in the Manyinga region.
Crops require essential nutrients for healthy development and optimal growth. Various physiological functions such as photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, root growth and flowering all rely on nutrients. When plants don’t have enough of a specific nutrient they may display a range of symptoms, varying from morphological impairments (i.e. stunting), to chlorosis or necrosis, to premature seed set and ripening.
Deficiency in any given nutrient comes with the presentation a specific symptom or combination of symptoms. The expression and severity of symptoms varies, depending on how long the crop is left deficient.