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Don’t forget to evaluate micronutrients in the soil

An extension educator with University of Nebraska-Lincoln says it takes more than macronutrients (sulfur, potassium, phosphorus) in the soil to grow a healthy soybean crop.

Nathan Mueller says soybeans also need micronutrients like iron, zinc, manganese and boron.

“These are nutrients needed by soybeans in a smaller amount, but they’re also essential like macronutrients.”

He says continued drought has an effect on soil nutrients. Take boron, for example.

“If we have a low organic matter sandy soil in a drought, we’re more likely going to have a boron deficiency in that type of environment, but that’s understanding the uniqueness of the soil and the environment.”

He says it’s better to know what’s in your soil before addressing needs this spring.

“In this day and age, input costs are really important to profitability. Just putting something on because you’re scared that you might need it probably isn’t a good business decision.”

He says a soil test at the start (and end) of the growing season will be helpful, but it won’t always tell the whole story. He says that’s where a plant tissue analysis at the beginning flowering stage of soybeans will be helpful.

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