Check for nutrient shortfalls following storms

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Following the high rainfall caused by recent storms, crops could be at risk of nutrient deficiencies growers are being warned.

In response to the extreme rainfall this autumn, Chris Bond, crop nutrition product manager at FMC, warns that nutrients in the soil are likely to be in short supply due to leaching issues and nutrient lock-up caused by saturated soils.

He believes crops could need foliar applications to help alleviate potential nutrient shortfalls, nutrition needed to build resilience above and below ground paramount to achieving strong growth in the spring “Building up a robust canopy before winter is key, it keeps the plants active and ready to hit the ground running for the crucial growing season in spring. At the same time, fostering strong root development is important,” he says.

Mr Bond explains that foliar nutrition is one of the best ways growers can support their crop’s resilience during winter, assuming they can get onto fields.

“Many nutrients can be locked up in the soil during cold and wet conditions. Foliar application can eliminate these risks, directly nourishing plant tissues and facilitating rapid absorption,” he says.

He considers the key nutrients for building above-ground cereal crop resilience this winter are manganese, magnesium and copper. “These nutrients all help with maintaining photosynthesis and cell wall integrity. To support plants below ground, zinc is important for creating strong active root systems, which is key for cold stress resilience.”

Mr Bond warns zinc deficiencies are on the rise, with 66% of tissue samples in 2022 showing deficiency for zinc, escalating to 75% in 2023.

For growers considering a foliar application of nutrients, Mr Bond suggests Cereal Plus™ which contains magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. Applications can be made at any time after the three-leaf stage when sufficient foliage has developed to absorb the nutrients.

“The autumn has already been extreme and challenging for crops, but by building resilience now with the help of nutrition, crops have a much better chance of weathering the winter and withstanding any further harsh winter conditions, ready to get away during the spring,” he concludes.

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