Foliar Nutrients Proven to Boost Yield and Profitability in Soybeans

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Foliar Nutrients Proven to Boost Yield and Profitability in Soybeans

Soybeans need nutrients to grow into a strong, healthy crop. While macronutrients, like Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium are often the first to come to mind, micronutrients, such as Iron, Zinc and Copper are also essential. Although they are required in smaller quantities, micronutrients are needed to complete the plant cycle successfully through the reproductive stages of growth and to grain formation.

When there is a deficiency in these vital nutrients, the crop will not reach its full yield potential. There are many factors that can cause nutrient deficiencies in soybeans including a social pH imbalance, too much or too little soil moisture, root abnormalities, soil and/or air temperature shifts and low soil tests.

“To address a nutrient deficiency, farmers should first get a proper diagnosis so that they can choose a foliar fertilizer that delivers the maximum amount of nutrition with a single application,” said David Powell, senior agronomy services manager for the FS System. “Hidden crop hunger can be determined through a combined sampling of crop tissue and soil samples from representative areas of the field.”

Powell also notes that this sampling will determine whether a multi-nutrient (5 or more nutrients) product with lower contents of each nutrient or a more concentrated (as few as three nutrients) product is used to address the deficiencies.

In addition to proper diagnosis, successful use of foliar nutrients is dependent on a variety of factors including the severity of the deficiency, the cause of the deficiency (soil- or environment-driven) and the amount of nutrient in the product applied. Choosing a product that contains high analysis of the deficient nutrient increases the probability of boosting yield. Success is also driven by whether nutrients applied are mobile downward in the plant, according to whether the area of need is the crop leaves or plant points touched by foliar application.

MiField Trial Results

MiField Applied Research trials have been testing the benefits of foliar nutrients for several years. In 2021, the trials once again demonstrated yield and profit increases when foliar fertilizers were applied, compared to growers’ standard practices.

2021 and 6-Year Soybean Foliar Nutrients Trials

In 2021 MiField Applied Research testing, 25 trials demonstrated an average yield response to foliar nutrient applications of +2.4 Bu/Acre higher when compared to the growers’ standard practices. The 2021 MiField foliar nutrient trials on soybeans were comprised of different products, location and management practices, and equated to a +$25.01 per acre impact to grower profitability. 

“When considering the adoption of adding foliar nutrition to planned applications, we analyze multi-year soybean response,” said Powell. “By applying the longer-term economics to yield response, MiField provides greater insight into the profitability of foliar nutrition when compared to the growers’ standard practices.”

Over the past 6 years, 150 MiField Applied Research trials demonstrated an average yield response to foliar nutrients of +2.6 Bu/Acre higher than growers’ standard practices. Based on average input costs, the ROI on foliar nutrient application was $19.97 per acre.

Foliar Nutrients on Your Farm

MiField Trials are tested on multiple farms, across multiple seasons, which best illustrates the variability of the yield responses obtained from foliar nutrients across various environments. Contact your local FS Crop Specialist about the impacts of foliar nutrition and how those products responded in your area.

FS MiField Applied Research Trials test new agronomic practices, technologies and products on growers’ farms every season. You can benefit from this research-based data, applying it to your plan this season.  Then talk to your FS Crop Specialist about analyzing the per acre ROI of foliar nutrients in our soybean crop.  They can provide a comparative analysis of various yield enhancing scenarios based on target soybean sale price, application rate, application cost and soybean yield targets.  

Download your copy of the 2021 MiField Trial Results report.

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