While micronutrients are creating a lot of buzz today, they have always been an important part of crop production.
Micronutrients like zinc are elements required by plants in trace amounts for successful growth and development. Although not all soils are deficient in micronutrients, fields with slight deficiencies can see yield losses in sensitive crops.
Photo courtesy of A & L Canada Laboratories.
Zinc-deficient areas in Western Canada, highlighted in red and orange.
Some micronutrient deficiencies, such as zinc, are more common. Zinc deficiencies can cause yield loss in cereals, oilseeds and pulses. Zinc deficiencies are common across Western Canada, but especially in the Southern Prairies.
Soileos Zinc, Co-op’s 2023 Innovation Launch, is designed to solve problems like these.
Address Zinc Deficiency with Soileos Zinc
Soileos Zinc is soil-applied granular crop nutrition that enhances yields and soil health with on-demand nutrient delivery and sustained bioavailability.
Zinc, like nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur, is an essential nutrient for plant growth. It plays an important part in the plant’s development, aids photosynthesis and promotes root formation and growth, which helps protect plants against yield losses due to cold weather and drought stress.
Addressing zinc deficiency sustainably is a key aspect of this year’s Innovation Launch, and links well to Co-op’s Grown with Purpose sustainability platform. “One aspect of Grown with Purpose is finding new fertilizers that address micronutrient deficiency in a sustainable way. Soileos Zinc is a product that supports 4R practices through the innovative way it works,” said Haley Tetreault, Co-op Grow Team Advisor.
Soileos Zinc upcycles cellulose derived from food and grain processing waste such as pea hulls and lentil husks and turns them into a bio-activated nutrient delivery system. The fertilizer/cellulose grains have nutritional value (0-0-10-5-10 Zn) and are an attractive fuel for soil microbes, offering both cellulosic carbon and potassium in addition to zinc. This is an innovative delivery method for micronutrients that allows for blending with other granular fertilizers.
“Soileos Zinc promotes nutrient-rich carbon cycling of the soil and micronutrient mineralization,” said Jason McNamee, Chief Product Officer of Lucent Bio. “It will improve soil health and prevent nutrient tie-up and leaching.” Over the growing season, Soileos decomposes naturally, fortifying soil and supporting the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, unlike other zinc solutions.
Assess Your Field Before Choosing a Micronutrient Application
Before choosing any product, it’s important to first determine if your soil will be responsive to a micronutrient application. By starting with a soil test, you can ensure you’re making informed decisions. The analysis provided by the lab will help you and your Grow Team member identify potential deficiencies or areas of concern.
“In addition to a soil test, there are many other variables to consider when choosing a micronutrient application,” said Tetreault. “Most important are soil type and moisture, which will affect the availability of micronutrients.” In addition, farmers should consider the crop and the likelihood of a response, to determine if there are circumstances where micronutrients are more warranted. Farmers should also consider nutrient interactions, such as potential antagonism, within the soil before applying micronutrients. “For example, zinc is important for pulses, oilseeds and corn.”
Lastly, be sure to leave a test strip, so you can compare your results between treated and untreated parts of the field. This will allow you to have a clear picture of your return on investment and the benefits of the product.
Choose the Right Product with Help from the Grow Team
Micronutrients are available in many products, with many forms, application timings, and bioavailability.
Using the wrong fertilizer is expensive and ineffective. Your Co-op Grow Team Agronomist will help you determine which micronutrients are right for your fields and select an appropriate product.
“Grow Team Agronomists work to ensure the micronutrient form and availability is matched to the plant needs, to maximize soil performance and bioavailability of the nutrients to the plant,” said Tetreault. “Understanding how and when crops take up zinc and other micronutrients is key in choosing the right product. Even micronutrients need to be in the right place, at the right time, in the right source, at the right rate.”
Working to Provide Innovative Solutions
Co-op’s Grow Team Members are local to their communities, and committed to ensuring they can provide innovative, tailored solutions to the needs of local growers beyond simple inputs. Soileos Zinc product is a leading-edge solution. “This is the kind of innovation that really acts to bring longevity to our industry,” said Tetreault.