• Plant Health

Research Reveals That Nutrient Balance Matters


600,000 data points. Since WinField United launched the NutriSolutions® tissue sampling program in 2008, that’s the volume of data we’ve gathered about the nutrient status of various crops. With that information, we’re discovering new nutrient management insights. And out of all that digging, one observation that stood out again and again was the important role nutrient balance plays in plant health. 

Look beyond adequate or deficient

Tissue reports indicate whether individual nutrients in plant tissue are adequate, responsive or deficient based on established sufficiency ranges for a crop at that specific timing. While that gives you a metric to measure nutrient status, it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story about how efficiently the plant is using those nutrients.

What we’ve found by examining hundreds of thousands of sampling data points is that there are several key nutrients that need to be in balance to optimize crop yield potential. Instead of looking at nutrients individually, it’s important that you understand how nutrients are working together to meet a plant’s developmental needs. 

Examine these key nutrient ratios

Important ratios to consider include the following:

  • Nitrogen and sulfur — In order for a plant to convert nitrogen to protein in the plant, it needs adequate sulfur. For high-yielding crops, a 10:1 ratio of nitrogen to sulfur is ideal. 
  • Nitrogen and potassium — Potassium helps carry nitrogen to the plant’s growing point. Without an adequate N:K ratio, plants can’t optimize kernel depth and yield. Our research shows that when N:K ratios are above 1.7:1, sidedressed potassium can be beneficial. If ratios are below 1.3:1, more nitrogen may help improve yield potential. 

Tissue sampling each year is the best way to ensure your plants have the right balance of nutrients to optimize yield potential and maximize return on investment potential of your fertilizers. NutriSolutions tissue sample reports provide these key ratios in an easy-to-use graphic.

Stay informed

WinField United has one of the most extensive tissue sampling databases of any agricultural company, which is helping us accelerate agronomic research for nutrient management. In addition, our soil testing laboratory, Solum®, and tissue testing laboratory, SureTech, are driving research to evaluate soil and plant health to help deliver actionable holistic nutrient management insights to farmers. 

If you attend a WinField United clinic this winter, the High Yield Management clinic includes information on nitrogen-to-magnesium and potassium-to-magnesium ratios and why they are also critical for plant health. Talk with your locally owned and operated WinField United retailer to find an event near you.

All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

© 2019 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 be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. NutriSolutions®, Solum®, SureTech™ and WinField® is a trademark of WinField United.