Throughout the growing season, crops may exhibit unusual coloring, stunted growth and leaf damage or defoliation. Often these visual symptoms are due to nutrient deficiencies which reduce yields, crop quality and ultimately producer profitability. By recognizing visual symptoms during the growing season and pinpointing production issues before harvest, growers can make plans for post-harvest steps that will help prevent similar issues with subsequent crops.
“Nutrient deficiency symptoms can be anything from leaf yellowing and leaf-loss to twisted ears with irregular kernel rows and imperfectly developed ear tips. Even stalk lodging can be a symptom of nutrient deficiency,” explains Dan Froehlich, Ph. D., agronomist with The Mosaic Company. “We’ve seen deficiency symptoms across the board in 2010. Also, fields with marginal fertility that might not show the deficiency under good growing season conditions are showing it this year because the soil conditions have made nutrients slightly less available and because the roots of the crop are not as active to compensate for the reduction in nutrient availability.”
To help growers diagnose potential nutrient deficiencies, The Mosaic Company offers an on-line photo library illustrating visual symptoms of nutrient deficiency in 19 major crops. Click the link here to go to the library at www.Back-to-Basics.net.