• Plant Health

3 Tips to Maximize Micronutrient ROI

Sprayer in a cornfield

Compared to macronutrients, which are generally applied in hundreds of pounds per acre, micronutrients might seem less critical for plant nutrition. Although crops may only require small quantities of micronutrients, critical functions within the plant are halted or less efficient without them. To ensure your crops have what they need to thrive and optimize the return on your micronutrient investment, keep these tips in mind.

Choose the right application method

Wondering if a seed treatment, in-furrow, broadcast or foliar application is the best option to apply a micronutrient? There are many factors that can influence that decision, including the nutrient you’re applying, the environmental conditions and the application’s timing. Each application method has its own benefits and limitations, and every crop requires a unique strategy to optimize plant response.

  • Seed treatments — In corn, micronutrients that are critical for early-season plant health can be effectively supplemented as a seed treatment. This can help promote healthy root development and lead to more vigorous, even emergence. All CROPLAN® brand corn hybrids contain a zinc treatment at no extra cost, which can help promote early-season plant health.   
  • In-furrow applications — A proactive nutrient application at planting is a better option than trying to make up for a micronutrient deficiency later in the season. Adding nutrients like zinc and manganese close to the root zone can help ensure more efficient plant uptake. Ultra-Che® micronutrients are fully chelated with EDTA to increase nutrient efficiency and availability to a variety of crops and easily mix with starter or pop-up fertilizers to optimize early-season plant nutrition.
  • Broadcast applications — WinField United’s Boron 15% is a good candidate for a soil-applied broadcast application with a dry fertilizer. It’s sourced from borax, which is highly water soluble, making more boron available to the plant when rainfall or moisture is at a premium.
  • Foliar applications — Because micronutrients are required in small quantities, a foliar application can oftentimes supply a large portion of a plant’s nutrient needs with just one application. In soybeans, a foliar application of manganese and copper can be beneficial while, in corn, a foliar application of zinc, manganese and boron can provide in-season plant health benefits. MAX-IN® micronutrient products are an excellent source for foliar applications because they contain patented CornSorb® technology that increases micronutrient movement through the leaf cuticle to internal plant structures for improved nutrient availability to the plant.

Use tissue sampling to dial in on hidden plant hungers

Even if you soil-apply micronutrients early in the season that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get into your plant. Environmental conditions, soil chemistry and application timing and method could limit plant availability and uptake. That’s why it’s critical to take timely tissue samples in-season. The results can tell you how effective your crops have been at sequestering micronutrients from the soil and can help you plan in-season adjustments to your fertility program.

Apply reputable micronutrient products

You already know that you get what you pay for when it comes to crop inputs. You may be able to save money by purchasing less expensive micronutrients, but those products probably won’t deliver the results that tested, research-backed products will. As you’re comparing micronutrient options, ask for credible data to support any product claims and consult with your trusted WinField United retailer to ensure you’re getting the right product for your needs.      
This article was originally published in April 2020 and was updated in May 2021.
All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

© 2021 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and to be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. CornSorb®, CROPLAN®, MAX-IN®, Ultra-Che®, and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.

Thank You for Signing Up.