Unveiling Cotton Nutrient Deficiencies: Insights from Extractor Tissue Samples
In the realm of cotton farming, certain nutrient deficiencies are known to significantly impact crop health. However, recent data from Extractor® tissue samples found surprising deficiencies in certain secondary nutrients. Across all cotton-growing areas of the country within the past three years, Extractor revealed significant deficiencies in not only potassium, sulfur and nitrogen, but also in zinc and calcium. Derek Emerine, National Agronomist for Helena Agri-Enterprises discussed the significance of these findings in a recent episode of Helena’s FieldLink® Podcast.
“When we get to early or mid-bloom cotton, zinc is actually as big or a bigger issue than even potassium according to this data,” says Emerine.
According to Emerine, these findings are significant because of zinc’s unique role in cotton production. It plays an important role in branching and works with boron to impact boll development.
“It is something to be aware of if you want to take your cotton yields to that next level,” says Emerine.
While zinc is a growing concern, other nutrient deficiencies come as no surprise. Potassium is the most prominent macronutrient deficiency in cotton production, while nitrogen and sulfur deficiencies remain high as well. The other surprise from this three-year Extractor study was calcium, ranking among the top five most deficient nutrients in cotton. Since calcium is typically only a problem in low pH areas, Emerine says there’s still work to be done to understand why it is showing up elsewhere.
“Maybe we need to go explore some of these other things that we typically haven't thought of as being a problem,” says Emerine.
The ability to identify evolving trends opens the door to new discoveries, and it’s just one of the benefits of the Extractor tissue sampling program. Utilizing Extractor data provides farmers with a more comprehensive understanding of crop health. By measuring nutrient levels in the field, farmers can address yield-limiting deficiencies throughout the season and improve nutrient management moving forward. To elevate cotton production to new heights this season, contact your local Helena representative for guidance on implementing Extractor tissue sampling on your farm. To hear the whole conversation on crop nutrition with Derek Emerine, tune in to Episode 32 of the FieldLink Podcast.