Nutrient Management: Don't Forget the Zinc.


“This year could be a stressful as last year … due to the amount of snow … and the amount of tillage that didn’t get done last fall,” said Slater, sales agronomist at Federated’s Isanti location. To lessen the stress of spring, because it is coming, even though it still looks like winter, he recommends outlining a fertility plan now so that “once the floodgates of spring open,” there are plans for everyone – both growers and Federated – to fall back on.

“When the crop comes up it’s hard to chase a deficiency,” said Slater, adding, “and it’s nearly impossible to get back any yield that was lost.”

Zinc is a key micronutrient not to be overlooked in fertility plans. “Zinc it a necessity for high-yielding corn crops,” said Slater.

  • - Zinc enables crops to metabolize carbohydrates and produce chlorophyll.
  • - Zinc is essential to transport calcium through the plants.
  • - Zinc isn’t mobile in the plant; deficiencies will show in the new growth first.
  • - Zinc’s availability in the soil is affected by soil pH, low organic matter, and high phosphorus levels.

Zinc deficiencies can be caused by cool and wet soil conditions,” he said, “which [given current conditions] … could be a high possibility come spring.”

Slater said, “Multiple university studies have shown an increased yield by simply adding 1 lb. of zinc per acre to a starter.” Federated has multiple zinc options … whether it’s added to a broadcasted mix, liquid starter, or even a dry starter.

Federated recommends USA500 to add zinc in a liquid starter program. (USA500 also provides phosphate protection.)

Federated also offers liquid 9% Zinc-EDTA and 10% Zinc-citric, and dry zinc for growers who opt for a dry starter.

To determine zinc and other nutrient needs, Slater noted, “start with a soil test,” acknowledging that reminder is posted in most every Federated newsletter.

“It's a lot easier to plan for the year when you know what you’re starting with,” he said. Talk to your Federated Agronomist as you plan your nutrient needs for 2019. Spring is coming!