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Fluid Journal : Summer 2017
10 The Fluid Journal Summer 2017 The Fluid Journal • Official Journal of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation • Summer 2017 • Vol. 25, No. 3, Issue #97 Larry Cooper and Dr. Rita Abi-Ghanem Summary: In a February 2015 CropLife article, data from WinField Nutrisolutions reports indicated 60% to 75% of all crops the company sampled in 2014 had a micronutrient deficiency of some form. The following article looks at what micronutrients are, why they are important to crop and human health, and how growers can manage micronutrients to improve their crop yields. Science has identified 17 essential nutrients for healthy plant growth. Water and air normally provide the three most important elements: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The rest are generally expected to come from the soil. We are all familiar with those six nutrients required in large amounts (macronutrients and secondary macronutrients): nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. There are also eight nutrients required in smaller amounts (boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, Micronutrients Key to Better Yields ▼ DOWNLOAD Sometimes the smallest things can unlock our greatest potential. molybdenum, nickel, and zinc) dubbed micronutrients. Note that nickel (Ni) has been overlooked in the past but is essential for the activity of the urease enzyme which breaks down urea into a form that can be used by the plant. Several elements that have been identified as non-essential yet beneficial plant micronutrients: cobalt, silicon, selenium, vanadium. But too often micronutrients are treated as an afterthought and deleted to control input costs. Don’t sweat the small things, right? Wrong! Smaller doesn’t mean less important. In fact in many ways micronutrients hold the key to how well the other nutrients are used and how well the plant grows, develops, and yields. What Micronutrients Do Micronutrients are known to play many complex roles in plant development and health. These include photosynthesis, chlorophyll synthesis, respiration, enzyme function, formation of hormones, metabolic processes, nitrogen fixation, reducing nitrates to usable N forms, cell division as well as development, and regulation