Why Foliar Spray?

June 2014 040There are many benefits to foliar feeding. Let’s touch on the main reasons why foliar feeding should be a part of your management practices.

1) Foliar feeding is a toolbox full of tools.

Have you ever met a professional mechanic? A mechanic uses his understanding of engines and machines and combines that with physical effort to fix all sorts of problems. Fixing an engine without tools doesn’t work. Every mechanic has to have tools. Each has a specific role it plays. As a grower you can look at specific foliar sprays as tools in the toolbox. They help you meet specific objectives in growing your crop.

2) Foliar feeding allows an additional supply of nutrients into the plant.

The primary supply of nutrients into the plant is through the roots. Yet the leaf is another route of entry that should not be discounted. Nutrients can penetrate the leaf via its stomata and directly through the cuticle on the upper part of the leaf.

Imagine your family budget where you consistently spend 110% of every month’s income. Credit card bills and debt at local businesses keep climbing. In this context 10% makes a big difference. Now imagine you start a small family business and your income goes up 20% while your spending stays the same. Now you only spend 90% of your monthly income. Is this a significant change? Absolutely! Finances changed from great stress to great relief. Likewise the small addition of nutrients from foliar feeding can have a very significant impact on the “nutritional budget” of your plants.

3) Foliar feeding only uses small doses of nutrients but can have a large impact.

Small doses is a key parameter when foliar feeding. How much salt does it take to salt your food? Very miniscule compared to the amount of food. With foliar feeding you can often see impressive results by applying only 1-2 quarts per acre.

4) Foliar feeding directs crop physiology.

This is an extremely powerful aspect of foliar feeding. Farmers have used this many times to increase yield. A foliar spray is a command to the plant. A foliar spray can push a plant towards vegetative growth that results in more stalks, stems, and leaves. Or toward more reproductive energy that results in grain fill and pod set.

The key is to use the right “command” at the right time according to the current stage of the plant. Any member of the Novus Ag team can assist you in determining the right product and timing to provide the correct command to your crop.

5) Foliar feeding helps correct trace mineral deficiencies.

This is one area where foliar sprays really shine. Since trace minerals are only needed in trace amounts a small addition can fix a big problem.

6) Foliar feeding improves the efficiency of the leaf.

The leaf is the plants’ warehouse. Inputs come in, energy comes in, new products are made, and then the new compounds are shipped to other parts of the plant. Adequate mineral nutrition increases this process significantly.

7) Foliar feeding can increase yield.

This is the big one for farmers. If it doesn’t pay to spray then why spray? Foliar feeding that increases yield happens in two primary ways. Either the foliar spray provides more minerals needed by the plants or the nutrients enhance the plants’ resistance to disease or fungal attack. In the first situation the increase of minerals help further plant metabolism via enzymatic reactions thus increasing yield. In the second scenario yield is being lost because the plants are expending so much energy fighting disease or infection. When nutritional foliar sprays enhance plant health more energy is available to increase crop yield.

The last point brings up another rule to keep in mind. Use nutrition as the first defense against insect and disease pressure.

Foliar sprays can help you do this two ways: 1) Proactively as part of a regular spray program, and 2) Reactively in critical situations.

The first is better but the second is still useful.

There you have it; seven reasons to consider why foliar nutritional sprays can benefit your operation.

Information for this article courtesy of Jon Frank from International Ag Lags, Inc.

 

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