Thursday, July 22, 2010

Want To Go Green? Use LIQUID Manganese

Sorry for the delay in getting a new post up on the NCRS blog, but I was on a fertilizer mission this week, and forgot to tell you in my last post. This one will be short, but I found it interesting. One of the things anyone farming new ground has to deal with is unforseen surprises, as with crop nutrient deficiencies. There is quite a bit of manganese deficiency in mid-Michigan, and elsewhere in the Midwest. We found some recently on our new Farm 7 in soybeans, which are sensitive to low soil manganese. This particular area was on the edge of one of the replication strips, and not part of the plot. This was a severe deficiency as all of the leaves were yellow, and the beans were smaller than those in adjacent plots. We decided to see what a full gallon per acre application of ACLF 4% Manganese would do. Now most people would balk at applying a gallon of a micronutrient. We recommend a quart per acre for maintenance, and usually in combination with Sure-K. If you are seeing some deficiency symptoms, two quarts per acre should be applied. But solid yellow beans that are small need more. We did not add any other fertilizer so we could see just the effects of the manganese. This was the only plot showing such severity of deficiency, so we weren't able to put out more treatments or replicate. It's just a see what happens plot, or a "squirt and peek" as some call it. The picture below was taken from the Hagie plot sprayer on July 14 just before application. I applied the gallon of fertilizer in a total spray volume of 10 gallons per acre. We looked at the plot today which was eight days after application. There is a tremendous improvement, as the picture below shows. They are still lighter green than the regular soybeans in the plots, but there was no yellow seen. And the color is very uniform. I would say the plants are responding well to the manganese, but with a gallon, they'd better.
Here is a picture taken between the sprayed plot and the unsprayed plot on the right. You can see it in the first picture, where there was some yellowing, but not as severe as in the plot we sprayed. Now the unsprayed plot is kind of blotchy with yellow and green. But the sprayed plot is uniform in color. The unsprayed plot still has bigger beans, but it had a big headstart. Also notice the border strip. The outside nozzle sprayed the left half of the strip, and you can see that the left half is greener and has more uniform color.
So it's not a replicated test, as we didn't have enough room, but we will keep an eye on it and will check yield for comparison to the unsprayed plot. This brings up another point that we have recently discussed with our sales account managers. It was pointed out that after planting, there may be some leftover fertilizer in the on-farm storage tanks, or even in dealers tanks. It is a good idea to try to get that fertilizer out of the tank and used up, as small volumes sitting in hot storage tanks through the summer can lead to potential problems. Heat and some water evaporation can lead to some crystals settling out at the bottom. And when new fertilizer is added in the fall, the crystals often do not re-dissolve. And this can lead to plugging of screens and orifices the next year. I frequently get calls from growers asking if they can make a foliar application of "corn mix" on their soybeans. Of course the answer is "yes" (except where there is much nitrogen in the mix). We know foliar applications work, so why not put a few gallons per acre through the sprayer? Do the math and figure out how much you need to spray to get it used up. This would be especially effective on your worst ground, and have a clean tank to hold the next load. It is better to take the time and use up the remaining tank fertilizer in a way that will do some good instead of invite planter-stopping problems next spring.
So I am off on a one-day fertilizer mission tomorrow, and perhaps I will be able to share this one with you in my next post.