Like with other micronutrients, by the time a crop shows deficiency symptoms, the damage is already done—the crop is already stressed, and in most cases, its yield potential already compromised.
What Role Does Boron Play in Crop Production?
Boron plays a significant role in crop development and growth, resulting in a direct impact on yield quality and quantity. It is essential in building cell walls and membrane structures and maintaining various functions such as movement of sugar, pollination and seed generation. As a micronutrient that does not easily move in the plant, boron must be continuously taken up by the crop throughout its growth cycle. If an insufficient amount is available, the crop becomes deficient, therefore, hindering your yield potential. For example, if a corn or wheat crop is deficient in boron, the ears and heads will be empty or deformed. So, what leads to a boron deficiency?
Risk Factors That Can Lead to Boron Deficiency
Some factors that may put your crop at a higher risk of boron deficiencies are:
- Soil pH: Soils with a high pH can reduce boron availability, especially in calcareous soils.
- Soil Texture: Similar to nitrogen, boron is mobile in the soil. Sandy or coarse soils increase the risk of leaching, causing a lack of boron availability to the crop.
- Environment: Boron uptake in roots is primarily determined by water uptake, so in cases of drought, deficiencies increase. Excess of rainfall or irrigation can also lead to increased leaching and therefore, a deficiency.
- Soil Conditions: Soils where high rates of lime or gypsum are present can create periods of boron deficiency.
What Does Boron Deficiency Look Like?
Boron assists in the growth development of crops and plays a vital role in cell division and pollination. A deficiency in boron can be difficult to detect, however, there are signs to watch for:
- Interveinal chlorosis on mature leaves
- Abnormal growth on youngest leaves and growing points
- Discolored on young leaves and terminal buds
- Barren ears, blank stalks, or poor-quality seed
- Shortened internodes, causing a bushy or rosette appearance
How to Help Prevent a Boron Deficiency
One of the main concerns with boron is the narrow line between deficiency and toxicity. With WOLF TRAX® Dry Dispersible Powder® (DDP) micronutrients, you can have the confidence your crops are receiving the right amount of micronutrients needed, in close proximity to growing roots. With a uniform distribution across your field, WOLF TRAX provides your crops with a balanced nutrition plan to maximize your yield and decrease your risk of deficiencies and hidden hunger.
To learn more about boron and ways to prevent boron deficiencies, contact a Koch Agronomic Services (KAS) representative or visit the KAS Knowledge Center.