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Want Big Yields? Don’t Skimp on Zinc.

  • Aug 20, 2018
Corn seed coated in green being poured out of a seed bag
When it comes to plant nutrition, it seems that N, P and K are often in the limelight. But zinc is an unsung nutrient hero that helps maintain some of a plant’s most important physiological processes. Here are some reasons it’s time to rethink the power of zinc.
 
Zinc promotes consistent emergence. Hybrids that get a strong start are better equipped to meet their yield potential. Zinc is a catalyst for enzyme creation and is a precursor for auxin hormones that signal seed germination. When early zinc levels are adequate, there is more consistent seed germination and emergence.
 
One way to ensure plants have enough zinc early in the season is by incorporating the nutrient into your seed treatment. All CROPLAN® corn hybrids come with a zinc seed treatment at no additional cost to you. We make this investment because we know that seed that starts strong has better potential to battle stress later in the season. In fact, we tested zinc-treated corn seed at 62 Answer Plot® locations last year and found that it averaged a 3.2 bushel per acre yield advantage over standard seed treatments.

Healthy root development requires zinc. Because zinc is an essential component for many enzymes, it’s no wonder it’s so important for the growth and development of healthy roots. Adequate zinc levels and quicker emergence tend to lead to more robust early root growth in the corn plant. This sets the plant up for a bigger root footprint, earlier in the year, to capture water and nutrients.
 
 
When zinc is sufficient, so are other nutrients. If zinc helps build healthy roots, it makes sense that the uptake of other nutrients would also increase with sufficient zinc. We analyzed over 9,400 tissue samples taken from farms in Minnesota, and found increased levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur when zinc levels were sufficient in the plant.
 
Zinc is immobile in soil and tissue, so it’s critical that plants have a constant supply throughout the season to meet growth and development needs. In addition to a seed treatment, you can boost early-season zinc levels with a starter fertilizer. Tissue samples can help identify opportunities where foliar applications may be beneficial as the season progresses or consider planned applications of dry zinc fertilizers before the next season.
 
For more information about zinc-treated CROPLAN hybrids that are a good fit for your operation, contact your local retailer.
 



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