Saturday, 19 May 2012

Identifying Nutrient Deficiencies

Crops are emerging, and as of right now you probably arent seeing any sort of nutrient deficiencies in your fields (hopefully). But as the crop moves forward and begins searching for more nutrients as its supply from the seed runs out you may start running into some issues, especially if you are in extreme situations such as drought or to much moisture.
Nutrient deficiencies are common problems with in any field. A deficiency can rob your crop of yield so identifying a deficiency early can ensure you still achieve your target  yield. Here is a list of the common nutrient deficiencies and symptoms. If any deficiency is seen please contact your agronomist immediately and a proper plant tissue test can be taken to get to the bottom of the problem. If test come back positive a proper fertilization plan can be put together.

Italic font is role of nutrient in plant, regular font are a description of deficiency symptoms.

Nitrogen (mobile in plant)- Slow, stunted growth, delayed maturity, chlorosis (yellowing) of older leaves, burnt tips and margins.
Nitrogen is utilized by the plant to synthesize amino acids, produce chlorophyll, nucleic acids and enzymes.
Phosphorous (mobile in plant)- Slow, stunted growth, purplish discolouration of older leaves, poor seed development.
Used in plants in DNA and RNA, for cell division growth, energy transfer and storage in cells, stimulates early root growth and vigour, hasten maturity and aids in seed production.
Potassium (mobile in plant)- Causes tip and leaf margin burn in older leaves, lodging (weak stalks), reduced seed size.
Aids in translocation of sugars and formation of starch, involved in water regulation, disease resistance, root growth, a reduction in lodging and increases seed quality.
Sulphur (immobile in plant)- Yellowing of newest leaves. *In canola it can cause slight leaf cupping and purpling as well.
Sulphur is an important component of proteins in plants, and aids in seed and chlorophyll production. Helps with nodulation in legumes.
Calcium (low-no mobility in plant)- Can cause stunted and deformed growing tips in new leaves, or can cause lack of new root growth.
Stabilizes cell walls of plants, regulates cations and anions in plants, "trucker" nutrient
Magnesium (mobile in plant)- Causes interveinal chlorosis of older leaf tissue, chlorosis and necrosis (death) of leaf tips, leaf curling and leaf drop.
Involved in chlorophyll synthesis and a component of chlorophyll, aids in protein synthesis and enzyme activation, aids in resistance to environmental stress and regulates pH in cells.
Boron (immobile in plant)- distorted growing points, poor seed set
Involved with carb and nucleic acid metabolism, sugar transport across membranes, pollen viability and seed set, and helps with root elongation
Copper (low mobility in plant)- pig tailing of cereal leaves, stunting and yellowing of new leaves, increased ergot in cereals, malformed heads of cereals and stem melanosis.
Activates enzymes required for photosynthesis, aids in chlorophyll formation, allows self pollinating cereals to pollinate properly.
Chloride (mobile in plants)- plant wilting, chlorosis of older leaves, excessive branching, and leaf bronzing.
Involved in water regulation, cell division, photosynthesis, enzyme activityand efficient N use. Helps with crop maturity and suppresses disease.
Iron (immobile in plant)- interveinal chlorosis of newer leaves.
Required for chlorophyll formation, protein synthesis and a part of organic compounds in plant.
Manganese (immobile in plant)- causes grey speck in oats, interveinal chlorosis of younger leaves in legumes, chlorosis of younger leaves in other plants.
Enzyme maintenance, nitrate reduction, controls auxins and growth regulators, involved in synthesis of chloroplasts.
Molybdenum (low mobility)- growing point dieback, legumes may appear N deficient, whiptailing.
Helps with legume N fixation, functions in enzyme activation.
Zinc (slightly mobile)-causes small leaves, malformed leaves
Increase germination, helps with flower production, increases plant resistance to frost, increased auxin stimulation

There are a number of options out there to save your crop from nutrient deficiencies; including foliar sprays, proper soil testing and fertilization.
Sometimes there may be something known as a “latent” deficiency, meaning you cannot see a deficiency symptom yet, but a tissue test will show low levels of the nutrient within the plant. If you run into a scenario like this using a foliar fertilizer product from a company like ATP Nutrition or NutriAg with the corresponding nutrient in it can help cure the problem. Leaving a check strip even after using these products can be effective to show the difference it made in yield.

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