Could your Soybeans Yield More with Manganese and Iron Fertilizer?

By Wolf Trax

There are two micronutrient issues that farmers should consider when they are getting ready to order their soybean fertilizer:

1. Iron chlorosis in soybeans. Northern soybean farmers know iron chlorosis too well, particularly when spring conditions have become cold and wet.

2. Manganese deficiency in soybeans. A common deficiency in soybeans throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic states, manganese is often limited in fields with high soil pH, coarse soils, high calcium levels or high iron levels. Unfortunately, farmers often address the deficiency after crop stress has started.

Avoid Iron Chlorosis in Soybeans

If you live in a northern soybean growing region that experiences iron chlorosis, don’t let the weather induce iron deficiency in your crop. It reduces photosynthesis and yield.

By using Wolf Trax Iron DDP with EvenCoat Technology, you get blanket-like distribution of a highly effective, soil-applied iron fertilizer that soybean plants can access early in the season.

Don’t Wait for a Manganese Foliar Spray

Sometimes farmers wait to apply manganese fertilizer with an in-season foliar application. Often they see a visual response from the application when the soybean crop takes on a greener color.

Would you be surprised to learn that the visual response – that greener color after a foliar application – is a bad thing?

Seeing a difference in your field means the soybean plants did not have enough manganese before the foliar application. Manganese is important for photosynthesis. During the time you were robbing your soybean crop of this important micronutrient, you were also losing productivity and yield.

At Compass Minerals, we advise soybean farmers to deliver nutrients before they are needed by the plant. You can do this by having your fertilizer dealer coat your dry soybean fertilizer blend with Wolf Trax Manganese DDP®.

Optimize Manganese Fertilizer Application Timing for Soybeans

Foliar fertilizers can be an important tool in your fertilizer management program, as long as you make sure your soybeans have the manganese they need early. At Purdue University Dr. James Camberato conducted research on timing of manganese fertilizer applications in soybeans.

The trials’ key findings:

  1. Adding just a starter fertilizer with no manganese made almost no difference in yield, only half a bushel more.
  2. The best result came from a programmed approach: including Manganese DDP with a pre-plant/at-plant soil  application and applying plant-available manganese again in a foliar spray.
  3. The next best option was NOT spraying just an in-season foliar application of manganese fertilizer. Instead, the second best option was soil-applied Manganese DDP with the dry blend at planting.

For more details of this soybean fertilizer trial, download the Field Insights document.

Provide Manganese to the Whole Soybean Plant

Besides making sure that the plant has access to the nutrient when it’s needed, a soil application also ensures that the growing plant benefits from the fertilizer application. Here’s how:

  • Manganese is immobile in plant tissue.
  • A foliar application supplies the important micronutrient to the part of the plant that is sprayed. But manganese will not redistribute itself to new growth.
  • When roots take up soil-applied Manganese DDP, the micronutrient is distributed throughout the whole plant.

Choose Highly-Available Manganese DDP Fertilizer

If you are interested in including manganese in your dry fertilizer blend, ask for Wolf Trax Manganese DDP. Traditional granular manganese fertilizers tend to get locked up in soil quickly. Manganese DDP features the patented PlantActiv™ Formulation that helps the nutrient resist soil tie-up and remain plant-available.

Make sure you provide the soybean fertilizer requirements your crop needs for a great season.


About the Author Wolf Trax