- Crop Management
- John Kempf
August 10th, 2021
While it’s known that healthy soils contribute to the overall health of a crop, what may be less well known is that, when supported correctly, a crop can also greatly improve the health of the soil. In fact, directly supporting the health of a growing crop may be the fastest way to improve the soil profile.
What has the biggest impact on crop health?
Alongside adequate levels of CO2, water, and sunlight, a key component to increasing crop health is to increase a plant’s ability to optimize its photosynthetic activity. By directly supporting this ‘photosynthetic engine,’ we effectively bring additional energy into the plant ecosystem. This enables a growing crop to not only store carbon, as well as surplus energy (as lipids) in the soil profile, but also to release photosynthates that assist plants in developing resistance to soil-borne pathogens.
How can I provide the right kind of nutrition?
While we cannot always control factors like the amount of water a crop receives, we certainly have the ability to choose the nutrition we use to support crop health. For example, the use of N nitrate can increase water requirements of a crop by as much as 50%. Additionally, when manganese is in short supply, the amount of sugars produced in a single 24-hr period are greatly reduced. Despite most soil profiles showing abundant levels of iron and manganese, these micronutrients are often in unavailable forms. Providing chelated nutrition in a reduced plant-available form is crucial for improving overall plant health.
What does this mean for my crops?
Maximizing photosynthesis ensures that a growing crop has an adequate supply of nutrients central to chlorophyll production. Specifically magnesium, nitrogen, iron, manganese and phosphorus support crop health while improving soils by increasing plant photosynthetic sugar output. Once the photosynthetic engine reaches its inherent potential, increases in crop quality, health, and yield will follow.
Looking to transform your commercial farm into a regenerative system?
At AEA, our expert consultants work with growers to build comprehensive crop programs using liquid minerals and biological products. Reach out to our team today and take the first step towards a healthier & more profitable farm.