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Importance of Micronutrients in Soil: Boron, Manganese and Sulfur

Digging beneath the surface of your corn and soybean plants is helpful, but analyzing soil samples at the lab brings field insights to a whole new level. A handful of nutrients are critical for crop production, including sulfur, boron and manganese. Though these nutrients aren’t always emphasized as much as other elements, they still play a big role in healthy corn and soybean development.

Golden Harvest collected more than 1,200 on-farm soil samples from 2016 to 2017, and here is a snapshot of the 3 nutrient test results in discussion:
  • Sulfur: 18% of soil samples contained low levels
  • Boron: 84% of soil samples contained low to very low levels 
  • Manganese: 52% of samples contained low to very low levels
To help illustrate the value of sulfur, boron and manganese, the chart below outlines primary nutrient functions along with deficiency symptoms and environmental triggers.

Correcting Nutrient Deficiencies
First, conduct a soil or tissue test to confirm any micronutrient deficiencies—sulfur and boron leach easily in most soils. Plants need boron and manganese in smaller quantities, and deficiencies can be corrected with a soil or in-season foliar application. Sulfur is a macronutrient needed in larger quantities, and you can correct levels by adding a mixture of liquid and granular, or dry, fertilizers to your standard fertility program. 

The image above illustrates how sulfur deficiencies lead to yellowing leaves and stunting of corn plants.

When in-season nutrient deficiencies occur, you can often combine a micronutrient product with a post-emergence herbicide or fungicide application. It is best to take proactive measures and plan your fertility program from fall soil samples. Contact your local Golden Harvest Seed Advisor for product recommendations, rates application timings and approved tank-mixes.

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Syngenta hereby disclaims liability for third-party websites.

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