Micronutrient Deficiencies in Western Canada
All plants need micronutrients. The degree to what type of response may be dependent on many factors including the crop, yield environment and obviously the soil levels. The norm of not using micronutrients needs to be challenged.
As we continue to look at the need for balanced nutrition in our crops in Western Canada, the question always arises: “What micronutrients are we deficient in?”. Well, that question typically can be somewhat hard to answer as each farm has its own unique land and challenges. I do encourage everybody to begin with a soil test to understand their own operation in more detail. However, in the absence of a soil test, we can take a look at a much larger data set and give an indication of what is most likely to be deficient in each province.
Using Yara’s MEGALAB, we have broken out all the samples by province to understand what percentage of soil samples are coming back deficient for each of the nutrients listed. Below is a list of what we used as minimums. These could be argued back and forth, but it's important that we understand where our levels are at.
- Zn < 3.1
- Mn < 21
- Cu < 2.0
- B < 0.9
As you can see many of the nutrients are considered deficient in each province and we need to be cognizant of this while developing balanced crop nutrition plans. Considering that less than 30% of the acres receive a consistent soil test, we can use this information as a guideline for providing customers with a balanced fertility program. Starting with plant physiology, we can understand what each crop requires to grow and the amount of each nutrient to grow a specific yield.
It is also important to note that soil tests are only one aspect of what needs to be considered when creating a balanced crop nutrition plan for your farm. There may be times when a soil test will show sufficiency but for a multitude of reasons (pH, environmental stresses, etc.) the crop is unable to access the available nutrients in the soil. Therefore, it is good practice to ensure sufficiency of all nutrients on your operation.
Contact your local Yara representative to learn more about micronutrient needs and how to access Megalab.
Cody Vogel, Sales Agronomist - Northern Alberta