Growing Knowledge

Read the latest insights from our experts as they cover agronomy issues that matter most to you and your operation.

Can You Spot a Micronutrient Deficiency?

Mark Herz
Agronomist, WinField United
Generally, it’s pretty easy to see when stress has taken a toll on crops. But determining what’s causing unhealthy plants sometimes requires extra detective work. Micronutrient deficiencies, for example, are hard to diagnose based on visual symptoms alone. Here are some tips to help you diagnose micronutrient deficiencies as you scout fields.
 
It might not be insect damage in alfalfa
Boron deficiency is more common in alfalfa than in any other row crop. Since boron is an immobile nutrient in plants, signs of deficiency will show up in new growth first. You’ll often see yellow-reddish leaves near the top of the plant, while older leaves remain green. Boron deficiency is sometimes misdiagnosed as leafhopper damage due to similar plant symptoms. One differentiator is that boron deficiency causes bunched leaves and shorter internodes, whereas leafhopper damage does not.
 
Watch for manganese deficiency in soybeans
Of all the micronutrients, manganese seems to be the most limiting for soybeans. Symptoms of manganese deficiency include yellow tissue between veins on new plant leaves, followed by brown, dying tissue. If the deficiency isn’t corrected, there could be yield loss due to lack of green leaf area. Symptoms of manganese deficiency look similar to other nutrient deficiencies and agronomic problems, so good scouting is key.
 
Your corn might be missing zinc
The micronutrient most likely lacking in your corn crop is zinc. Deficiencies can show up early in the season due to cold, wet soil conditions, or later in the season if the deficiency is severe. Deficiency symptoms generally appear in the newest leaf tissue, since zinc isn’t mobile in plants. To identify if your corn might be suffering from a zinc deficiency, look for yellow or white streaking on the leaves, which may not be uniform across the width of the leaf.  
 
Scout and sample
The best way to definitively diagnose a micronutrient deficiency is by soil and tissue sampling. Micronutrient deficiencies are rarely consistent across a field, so it’s important to target plants that are displaying symptoms to ensure you’re getting an accurate snapshot of your crop’s health. Combine scouting with tissue and soil sampling to help diagnose problems and follow up with appropriate fertilizers in-season as needed, and talk to your local agronomist for help diagnosing micronutrient deficiencies.
 
We’re here to help you with your holistic plant nutrition plan. Next, we’ll explore how to mitigate in-season stress using plant growth regulators and how to pair plant nutrition and seed choices. We’ll continue to dig into all aspects of plant nutrition throughout the year right here on the Growing Knowledge blog, so be sure to check back for more plant health tips.

Eye in the Sky: What Satellite Imagery Can do For You

Joel and Jon
Hosts, WinField United
Host Jon Zuk is joined by WinField United technology manager, Mary Pat Sass to discuss using satellite imagery to monitor crops and make in-season adjustments. They cover the benefits of using imagery together with boots-on-the-ground scouting and Mary Pat shares her experiences from the field.
Season 13, Episode 5: Eye in the Sky: What Satellite Imagery Can do For You


Drone Challenge

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField United
On this episode of The Deal With Yield, the guys have a conversation about the evolution of drone use in agriculture. Tune in to hear about the biggest hurdles facing drone adoption and how autonomous technologies are shaping farming practices as we know it.
Season 11, Episode 8: Drone Challenge

The Deal With Yield is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production.

Tips to Manage Pests This Season

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
On the season finale of The Deal With Yield®, hosts Joel and Kyle offer tips on controlling pests during the growing season. Find out how you can adjust your spray applications to protect the health of honeybees, why the threshold for spraying aphids varies state-by-state and the best spot to scout for them. 
 
Got a question about pests on your operation? Email hosts@dealwithyield.com to hear their tips.
Season 6: Episode 6 – Tips to Manage Pests This Season

The Deal With Yield® is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production.

In-Season Tips for the War on Weeds

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
Joel and Kyle examine the do’s and don’ts of weed control on this week’s episode of The Deal With Yield®. Find out what weeds and diseases are the biggest threats this season as well as how to manage them, and learn why not all fungicides are created equal.    
 
Got a question about your operation? Email hosts@dealwithyield.com for the chance to hear their response on the show.
Season 6: Episode 5 - In-Season Tips for the War on Weeds

The Deal With Yield® is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production.

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