agronomic

Unlocking the Power of Zinc

 

Getting the small things right can make a big difference—especially when it comes to crop nutrition. 

Zinc needs for corn are relatively small, but given the right environment and nutrient blends, it can add significant yield benefits. Read on to learn more about this essential nutrient.

The Importance of Zinc

Zinc is an essential component in several enzymes required for metabolic processes in crops, including protein synthesis and growth regulation. This crucial micronutrient is largely responsible for plant development, and without it, crops would fail to thrive. Zinc is widely known for its ability to positively impact crop growth and yield productivity.

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency is a very common problem across the globe in agriculture. It can be caused by low levels of Zn present in the soil profile, an imbalanced fertilizer program, or even other nutrients, such as phosphorus. We know zinc is important, but what happens without it?

  • Because of its role in plant growth, signs of zinc deficiency include minimal new leaf growth, small leaf growth, curled or cupped leaves, discoloration of leaves, stunted stalk growth and overall lower yield and quality.
  • Without zinc, crops are also more susceptible to damage from temperature changes, including cold and drought conditions. Particularly in cold temperatures where mineralization within the soil slows down, crops can take up less zinc from the ground. This is especially important to consider in terms of shallow, sandy soil composition where soil cools dramatically quicker than denser soil. So as we continue to push the limits and plant earlier in the springtime, zinc deficiencies are showing up more frequently in field conditions.

The Impact of Phosphorus on Zinc

Another important factor concerning zinc is its relationship with other nutrients. Phosphorus, another vital crop nutrient, can actually tie up zinc, if not properly balanced. This imbalance can cause harm to the plant and lower yields. Phosphorus isn’t bad, we just need to make sure we use the right ratios when using it in starters to maximize the yield benefits of starter fertilizers.

In the chart below, Dr. Jake shares how several studies have indicated that applying phosphorus starter fertilizer without zinc can actually lower crop yields.

In fact, Dr. Jake saw yields increase by five to seven bushels per acre when zinc is applied. Traditional phosphorus fertilizer can actually prevent zinc uptake, therefore doing more harm than good for the plant. This is why adding zinc is crucial to starter fertilizer application. 

A well-formulated fertilizer will include zinc at a concentration level that can mitigate phosphorus interaction and produce strong, healthy crops. To learn more, or check and see if your starter fertilizer program is balanced, reach out to a Liqui-Grow Sales Applicator!  We are here to help!

Maintaining Zinc

Now that we’ve established zinc’s importance in crop development and yield optimization, let’s talk about how to maintain zinc levels. 

  • Your soil composition greatly impacts your need for zinc and affects your application strategy. As mentioned before, soil density and composition can impact zinc requirements. While temperature plays a role, conditions such as rocky or sandy soil are additional determining factors. Zinc occurs naturally in rocks, so even small rocks within the soil can be a source of zinc for crops (so don’t get too carried away when picking rocks in the field!). Being aware of soil health also means knowing when certain resources or nutrients have been depleted and will need to be replenished to maintain plant health. 

All crops require zinc, but the amount differs based on the crop, where it is growing and the balanced fertilizer applied to it. Dr. Jake has pinpointed where corn responsiveness would be maximized in terms of zinc application, but other crop varieties will differ.

  • Be aware of the signs of deficiency and, in rare cases, toxicity. The ability to identify problems early on means you can properly address the issue and continue growing a strong, healthy and high-yielding crop. Zinc is especially vital during the early stages of plant growth, so be proactive and scout early to set your fields up for success.  

 

If you’re interested in learning more about zinc use in your crop, check out this Liqui-Grow Loop video. 

Want to learn more about Dr. Jake’s research? Check out this overview or watch his 2023 research results summary. 

Embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKECU92VdbU

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

Unlock the Next Level of Your Production

Sign-up for both Virtual and In-Person Events

Looking for something to help make winter go by a little faster? How about taking a few hours to absorb the experience, knowledge and intellect of experts in the field - to get the most into and out of your fields. 

Join the Liqui-Grow team of experts and some of our highly regarded colleagues in the industry on Tuesday, February 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (with lunch to follow) at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center. We’ll have a morning of learning and networking at the L.E.A.D. Academy Winter Series. This in-person event will showcase industry experts to cover the latest in agronomy, crop and nutrient management and production strategies. 

What to Expect

  • Agronomic education from industry experts in research, grain marketing and crop production
  • Networking with fellow producers from multi-state locations.
  • Engaging Q&A sessions with speakers
  • Top agronomic strategies for a profitable 2024

 

The Information You Will Gain

  • Seed Varieties to Achieve Top Yields

What does it take to get that box of seed to your farm? How do we get those lines ready for your planting? Our seed and innovation departments will share upcoming 2024 information with our customer base.

  • Profitable Grain Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore!

Store and ignore or market and sell? Grain marketing decisions are a constant challenge for farmers. That's why we're bringing in Curt Strubhar, commercial merchandising consultant and chairman of Advance Trading, Inc., to share insights from his decades of experience in risk management to help you make profitable decisions this season.

  • How Ethanol is Paving the Future for Profitable Corn Production

Join our Ethanol Tax Incentive breakout to hear experts Dr. Bert Bock and Dave Miller talk about SAF incentives and policy coming down the pipeline. Hear how your farming operation can benefit from SAF and ask the panel questions during an exclusive Q & A.

  • 2024 Crop Input Highlights 

Dr. Jake Vossenkemper will be revisiting his 2023 research and sharing what products he saw consistent increased yields and plant health. These are products available to you as farmers to use in the 2024 season! Plus, hear what’s on his radar for the near future and products you could be using and trying on your farms.

  • The Micronutrients You Didn’t Know Your Crops Needed

We hear about nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium all the time, but what about the other nutrients needed to grow a healthy crop? Dr. Jake will share why we need more nutrients these days, and why our crops are benefiting from the additional fertilizers.

 

Besides gaining a breadth of knowledge from our industry experts, and being able to chat it up with them and other growers, we have some great giveaways—including a shop fridge. So call a buddy and register today for this FREE event! Seating is limited, so don’t wait, and we’ll see you there! 

Click here to Register