Paying more attention to forage maize nutrition, particularly phosphate and zinc will improve crop establishment and early growth resulting in higher yield and better quality forage.
All nutrients have crucial roles in plants. Some species have a higher requirement for certain micronutrients and so deficiencies of these are more likely, however a deficiency of any macro or micronutrient will result in loss of yield and quality.
Early growth is predominantly root development which may be restricted in dry, cold soils if moisture is limited or conversely in poorly aerated cold waterlogged soils. Nutrient availability will be also be restricted in dry soils which will further restrict root growth and the ability to support the crop later in the season.
Foliar application of phosphate is the best way to overcome these early deficiencies and will help the crop develop a better root system to support later growth.
Research has shown that phosphate deficient maize plants growing in cold and/or acid soils utilise phosphate applied to the leaf at twice the rate of control plants without any deficiency; much more phosphate was translocated from the leaf, particularly to the roots, which maximises early root development.
Data from samples analysed by Yara Analytical Services in 2019, show that 65% maize leaf samples were defiicient in P and 45% maize soil samples were P index 2 or lower.
Maize soil samples P index 2 or lower
Maize leaf samples deficient in P
These maize plants were grown in sand and watered daily with a nutrient solution with optimum ammounts of all nutrients, but omitting zinc.
25 days after sowing the pot on the right side was treated with 1l/ha YaraVita Zintrac as a foliar spray just before filming started.
5 weeks after application the plants were harvested and there was a three fold increase in both shoot and root weight in the treated plants.
Over half of maize leaf samples are deficient in zinc
Half of all maize crops are not reaching their potential due to zinc deficiency
YaraVita Maize Boost contains all key macro- and micro-nutrients for maize
The following micronutrient fertilisers are recommended for foliar application to forage maize crops.
Improving nitrogen fertiliser efficiency is one way your farm can become more productive, profitable and sustainable. Try our quiz to find out how you can improve your farm's nitrogen fertiliser efficiency.