Don’t underestimate micronutrients for spring cereals!
Effective micronutrient management is widely understood to be a vital component for resilient crop growth, but make sure this is also the case for spring cereals – recent data has shown deficiencies are still a real issue.
“With many more spring cereals being drilled this year to replace winter cereals, it’s important to seize every chance to get the best yields possible,” says Natalie Wood, Country Arable Agronomist at Yara. “Micronutrient applications are the surest way to get the results you need.”
Natalie points to spring data that Yara Analytical Services (YAS) received from tissue samples in 2019, which showed multiple deficiencies are still occurring in the majority of samples with several notable repeat offenders. “We’re often seeing a deficiency in magnesium (Mg) in a range of crops,” says Natalie. “Spring barley is a particular problem. Last year, 76% of samples were deficient meaning they were below guideline levels.”
Magnesium is a major component of chlorophyll – without it, the crop cannot photosynthesise correctly. This results in less efficient energy production, which in turn leads to a less efficient plant and weakened yields. “For a simple analogy, think of magnesium-deficient crops as having a faulty solar panel,” says Natalie. “Everything might look okay, but you’re not getting the energy conversion you need.”
The 2019 data also showed high levels of boron (B) deficiency. Again, spring barley has struggled with 80% of samples showing deficiency. Alarmingly, spring wheat had even more severe results – deficiency rates reached a stunning 100%. “That figure is surprising,” says Natalie. “Boron is a very important nutrient for pollination, flowering, and grain set. Without boron, yield is hugely compromised. At such a low cost, not applying boron is a huge mistake. Don’t miss that application this spring.”
Growth stages are quick with spring crops. Getting the timing right can be difficult. Natalie offers some advice: “For magnesium, the key timing would be the T1 fungicide timing. Splitting boron application is ideal as trials have shown this benefits yield. So, if possible, 0.5L/ha at T1 and 0.5L/ha at T2, but if only one timing is possible then apply the full 1.0L/ha in T1.”
“Don’t underestimate micronutrients for your spring crops,” adds Natalie. “They make all the difference. Don’t let deficiencies undermine your yield.”
For more information on micronutrient products please visit www.yara.co.uk/crop-nutrition