Chloride (Cl) is required in small quantities but is very active in plant cells. It acts with potassium to regulate stomatal openings in the leaves, controlling internal water balance, and functions in cation balance and transport. Chloride is effective in suppressing and lessening the effect of fungal infections and can advance maturity of small grains in some soils.
Identifying and addressing a copper deficiency can make a big difference when it comes time to harvest.
Copper (Cu) is a micronutrient which is only needed in trace amounts, but is involved in several key plant actions, including photosynthesis, nitrogen utilization, protein production and water regulation. Adequate copper is needed for lignin formation, affecting the overall strength of the plant, and is critical for proper seed formation.
Sulfur (S) is a secondary nutrient, but it can be just as important as the primary (macro) nutrients. In fact, a plant’s sulfur requirements are similar to its needs for phosphorus, which is why some people call it “the fourth macronutrient.”
Sulfur is essential for plant growth, aiding in enzyme and vitamin activities, chlorophyll formation and nitrogen stabilization. It is an integral part of several amino acids which are essential for protein production and is necessary for nodule formation in legumes.
Well-balanced nutrition plays a key role in crop growth and development. There are many micronutrients essential for plant growth including boron, calcium, copper, manganese and zinc. However, deficiencies, biotic and abiotic factors can inhibit a crop’s ability to take in the nutrients it needs.
For example, high pH soils, high organic matter soils or light textured and sandy soils are all prone to zinc deficiency. Crops growing in zinc deficient soils may exhibit stunted growth and small or misshapen leaves. To help supplement zinc deficiency and promote robust crops, I recommend OMEX’s Zintake, a foliar fertilizer with high concentrations of phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
To attain high yields, crops require a balanced ratio of macronutrients (NPK – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and micronutrients (zinc, copper, manganese, iron, boron, etc.) The correct amount of some nutrients and the limited supply of others can create imbalances and reduce yield potential.
However, the higher the yield a crop produces, the more nutrients it takes out of the soil. Today’s high-yielding crops remove more nutrients from the soil than ever, leading to issues of nutrient availability.
Weather also plays a part, with most micronutrients virtually unavailable in the cool/cold temperatures and wet soil conditions which are typical of spring across Western Canada. Using a liquid starter fertilizer at seeding time can help correct micronutrient deficiency in the soil, preventing common early-season deficiencies in crops and improving yields.