Fertilizers are responsible for over half of global food production, but there are areas in world with nutrient deficiency and other areas of nutrient excess.
Managing mineral plant nutrients requires careful application of science and skill to meet production, environmental, and social goals.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Take Another Look at Chloride?
Chloride deficiency in wheat
Chloride (Cl) is an essential plant nutrient that is
required for proper plant growth and yield.Since it is needed in relatively small quantities, it is classified as a
micronutrient.Nevertheless, it is a
critical and frequently overlooked component of a complete soil fertility
program.In the West, there has probably
been more emphasis placed on avoiding excess levels of Cl and salinity than on
regularly occurring deficiencies.However, evidence continues to mount that there are many regions where
crops could benefit from additional Cl.
Chloride plays several important roles in plants, but the
crop response usually comes from a classical nutrient response and/or
suppression of fungal diseases.While
many crops respond favorably to applied Cl, wheat and other small grains are the
crops that receive the most Cl in the West.Some wheat varieties exhibit Cl deficiency symptoms, also referred to as
physiological leaf spot, under low soil Cl conditions.The symptoms are similar in appearance to
tanspot or septoria with no associated pathogen.Chloride has been proven to suppress
septoria, leaf spot, stripe rust, tanspot and common and take-all root rots in
wheat.Adequate Cl is demonstrated by
increased yield, higher test weights, and greater kernel plumpness.
How Do I Get Chloride?
Chloride is an anion and moves freely in the soil with
water.Rainfall near the ocean tends to
deposit sufficient Cl, but wheat-producing regions more than 200 miles from the
coast may respond to Cl fertilization.Irrigation water usually supplies adequate Cl to meet plant needs,
however regions with rain-fed cropping may not have sufficient Cl for top plant
performance and yield.
Research has shown that there is no difference in crop response
to various Cl-containing fertilizers.The most common Cl source is muriate of potash (0-0-67; 47% Cl). It comes in several colors, depending on the geologic source and how it is processed. Other
excellent sources of Cl include magnesium chloride and calcium chloride.
White potassium chloride
Red potassium chloride
Mixed color potassium chloride
Will Chloride Fertilization Pay?
Substantial profit can result from Cl fertilization where it
is needed.Like all plant nutrients, Cl
responses will only occur where there is an insufficient nutrient supply.An adequate Cl supply will benefit small
grain production by accelerating plant development, reducing lodging, and
improving disease resistance.
Given the demonstrated yield and quality boost that Cl
provides for many crops, it is time to reconsider whether your crops will
benefit from providing some of this overlooked micronutrient to your