Finding your plants' hidden hunger

Are your soybeans hangry? I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to give 100% when I'm hungry, so why should we expect our plants to perform well if we're not providing them adequate nutrition?  Instead of relying soley on soil samples, it's important to take a closer look at what your plants are actually able to uptake and metabolize. Thankfully, the NutriSolutions® 360 program by WinField®  United gives us the ability to take a snapshot of our plants' nutrient demands before visual symptoms may occur.

Tissue sampling provides a nutritional profile that can show nutrient deficiences in plants even before they are visible. Sure, this information can help guide fertilizer programs, but the greatest value comes when real-time nutrient corrections can be made in-season to preserve yield. In 2017, Mid-West Fertilizer took a total of 527 soybean tissue samples. Out of those, approximately 250 were deficient in potassium and 150 showed inadequate copper levels. We also observed low levels of phosphorus, manganese, sulfur, and boron. What kind of yields are we giving up with deficiencies like these? Here are some tips for getting the most out of tissue sampling this season.  
 
Timely sampling allows for action. Consider tissue sampling after the crop is well-established. For soybeans, we recommend sampling between V3 and V5, and at least twice between R1 and R4.  Since soybeans are highly responsive to Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium and Sulphur during the reproductive stages, we have a great opportunity to apply micronutrients and protect yield potential. We offer several great Max-In® products to select from in order to make these adjustments. Our 3-10-10 foliar supplement, RAMP® can also be used to correct deficiencies when applied at peak reproductive stages. 
Quality samples yield quality data. The tissue sampling data you receive from the lab is only as good as the sample you submit. At Mid-West Fertilizer, we have a team of trained employees dedicated to getting you the most accurate results. Agronomist Levi Davis says, “We take anywhere from 30 to 35 leaves for an unbiased sample. If we’ve seen areas of concern on R7® imagery, we’ll take a second collection in that area to avoid any discrepancies. We also pull and ship samples early in the week to keep the tissue from deteriorating during transit.”
Know how to interpret results. The NutriSolutions 360® tissue report contains three parts that include a ratio balance of nitrogen to potassium and sulfur, a radar chart that visually displays nutrient levels, and suggestions and product recommendations based on results. Consult with your Mid-West Fertilizer agronomist for help understanding results, and to develop an in-season nutrient management plan.