Know Your Nutrients: 16 Essential Elements

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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.

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Relief for Heat-stressed Crops

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All crops can be sensitive to heat stress, especially during the flowering stage. Even short periods of heat stress during flowering and grain fill can cause substantial yield losses.

Flowering, one of the most important stages in a crop’s life cycle, often happens during the hottest days of summer. As the plant is shifting the bulk of its energy production to flowering, it must also contend with stress brought on by high temperatures. The resulting water loss at the peak of evapotranspiration forces stomata to close, jeopardizing nutrients and water uptake.

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Help for Hail-damaged Crops

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One of the realities of farming on the Prairies is having to deal with intense and often unpredictable weather, including hail.

On average, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta see more severe thunderstorms and hailstorms than any other region in Canada. During peak hail season – the warm months of June through September – Prairie farmers will see approximately 130 hailstorms that are significant enough to do damage in the field. According to the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), 2017 saw the highest hail claims in years.

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