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The Power of Micronutrient Fertilizers in Crop Health

Explore the critical impact of micronutrient fertilizers on crop health and the key to enhanced agricultural productivity.

Table of Contents

Crop health is necessary for high yield. The crop health is based on the environmental conditions and the nutrients, which are micro and macronutrients. Micronutrients are the nutrients that are required in low amounts. However, their required amounts must be fulfilled for healthy crops because their deficiency results in stunted growth of the crops. To fulfill the requirements of these nutrients, the micronutrient fertilizers are used. 

In this article, I am sharing knowledge about the importance of micronutrients and how these are necessary for plants. Moreover, its effect on the overall crop health is also included in it.

What are micronutrients and micronutrient fertilizers? Macro and micronutrients for plants

Macro and micronutrients for plants

These are the nutrients that are present in low amounts in the fertilizers. These are essential for plant growth. However, their requirements for plant growth are low but necessary to perform their functions normally. They almost make up 1% of the total dry weight of the plants. The fertilizers that are made using micronutrients are called micronutrient fertilizers. Mainly, 7 plant nutrients are micronutrients. These are as follows:

  • Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Zinc (Zn)
  • Boron (B)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Chlorine (Cl) 

Macronutrients: these are required in high amounts for healthy plant growth. These are classified into primary and secondary nutrients according to the plant’s needs. Primarily these are Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

Why are micronutrients important for plants? 

These are important in order to provide growth to plants. They increase the crop yield and Improve the quality of harvesting. These are important for the plants because they are the main elements for the development of the plant parts. For normal and healthy growth plants require an optimal balance of nutrients. However, there’s an unavailability of these micronutrients, which results in stunted growth.

How do micronutrients affect crop health? 

These are directly available to the plants. After their absorption, the micronutrients start to perform duties and they affect the plant system effectively. When the plant system is healthy and working effectively, it will directly affect the growth of the plants. It enhances the plant’s survival chances increases fertility, and tissue health, and promotes crop yield and production.

Role and Power of Micronutrient Fertilizers in Crop Health 

Micronutrient Fertilizers

All of the Micronutrient is involved in providing an essential role in plant growth. With respect to the crop’s health, each of the micronutrient fertilizers performs the following roles; 

1. Molybdenum (Mo) and crop health

With the increase of the PH, these elements become available to the plants. These are highly important for the growth of forages. Their small amount is necessary for the seed formation. 

2. Zinc (Zn)

However, the zinc is immobile in the soil. Their availability is necessary for the plants because these are actively involved in metabolic reactions. The plants with a deficiency of zinc have small leaves. In the form of foliar application, it can be applied over the plant parts. They are the main Micronutrients that are involved in the Carbohydrates and chlorophyll production. That’s why their small amount is necessary for the plants. In the absence of the zinc elements, the blotches and chlorosis can be clearly seen. As a result, for the healthy growth of the plants zinc is one of the most important components that is directly involved in maintaining the plant’s health and yield. 

3. Boron (B)

It is a useful Micronutrient in the plant that forms the plant cell wall. Afterward, it provides strength to the plant cell wall. In this way, it is positively affecting the growth of the crops. However, it is not easily transported inside the plants. These fertilizers are directly applied to the soil for uniform application. You can also opt for other application ways. Its deficiency stops the plant growth. Moreover, the leaves start to curl, and crinkle with no root and shoot growth.

4. Manganese (Mn)

Manganese is the immobile nutrient of soil. Most preferably it’s provided to the plants through foliar application. Manganese plays an important role in plants because it acts as an enzyme and performs various functions in plant growth. They activate most of the metabolic processes in the plants. It ensures the synthesis of the chlorophyll. It also ensures germination and maturity. Moreover, it also increases the Calcium and phosphorus availability in the soil. 

5. Copper (Cu)

It’s one of the essential micronutrients that are essential for seed formation. It is also involved in various enzymatic activities. If the plants are not getting the required amount of copper the plant becomes susceptible to various diseases. Due to this, the crops will not grow healthier, and the resultant crop produced with small grains and low yield.

6. Iron (Fe)

This micronutrient is highly important for the plants. Due to its deficiency, the plant leaves will not grow properly. It increases chlorosis in plants when it is not available to the plant in adequate amounts. Mainly, in plants it acts like an oxygen carrier. Besides this, it also forms the chlorophyll in plants. That means its presence is also directly connected with photosynthesis. As a result, its presence increases the crop yields in a positive manner. 

7. Chlorine (Cl) 

It regulates the stomatal functions. It maintains the osmotic pressure within the plants. Moreover, it provides resistance to the plants against various diseases. It improves the quality of the crops. It maintains the ionic balance within the cells. In the absence of chlorine, the plant starts to show chlorosis, wilting, and necrosis. 

Benefits of micronutrient fertilizers in crop health

micronutrient fertilizers in crop health

These are the most essential nutrients for the plant’s growth and development. They balance the overall nutrition in the plants. Besides this, it is powerful for the plant’s health and growth. Some of the benefits of Micronutrients in fertilizers are as follows:

  • They balance the overall nutrition of the plants. The nutrients are essential for the growth & development of the plants.
  • They perform the enzymatic actions in the plant parts because they behave like cofactors in the plants.
  • The unavailability of the micronutrients will not benefit or develop the plant’s growth properly. 
  • These are necessary for reproduction. That directly affects the crop yields.
  • For the optimum yield, they are a must component for the crops. 
  • They quickly restore soil fertility.
  • They promote the steady growth of the plant parts and increase the lifespan of the plants. 
  • These nutrients are easily absorbed within the plants and easily portable. 
  • It increases the overall productivity of the plants. 

Effects of micronutrients deficiency in plants

Nutrient deficiency causes various problems in the growth of plants. The deficiency of the micronutrients directly affects the production rate of the crops. During this condition, the leaves start to turn yellow in color. The rate of photosynthesis decreases in the plants. On an agricultural scale, they directly reduced chlorophyll production and affected the quality of crops. They stop the growth of the plants. Excessive deficiency can result in the death of the plants.

Case Studies of Micronutrient Success Stories

  • Reversing Zinc Deficiency in Rice Fields: In Bangladesh, rice fields suffering from zinc deficiency were treated with zinc sulfate. The application led to a remarkable 20% increase in yield and significant improvement in grain quality, demonstrating the critical role of zinc in rice production.
  • Boosting Citrus Production with Boron: A citrus orchard in Florida faced widespread fruit drop and poor fruit set. After applying boron-enriched fertilizers, the orchard saw a 25% increase in fruit yield and improved fruit firmness, highlighting boron’s role in enhancing reproductive growth in citrus plants.
  • Manganese Solutions for Soybeans: In Brazil, soybean farmers dealing with manganese-deficient soils used chelated manganese fertilizers. The treatment not only corrected the deficiency but also increased soybean yields by up to 15%, emphasizing the importance of manganese in photosynthesis and plant energy production.

FAQs 

Are micronutrients required daily by plants?

No, plants do not require micronutrients daily. Micronutrients are needed in small quantities and are typically absorbed from the soil over time. The frequency of their requirement depends on the plant’s growth stage, soil composition, and the existing micronutrient levels in the soil. Regular soil testing can help determine the need for additional micronutrient supplementation.

Can plants live without micronutrients?

Plants cannot live without micronutrients, as these elements are essential for various physiological and biochemical processes, despite being required in very small amounts. Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to stunted growth, poor yields, and increased susceptibility to diseases. Even though they are needed in trace amounts, their absence can significantly impair plant health and development.

How much micronutrients do plants need?

The amount of micronutrients plants need is quite small, often in parts per million (ppm) in the plant tissue. The exact quantity varies depending on the specific micronutrient and the type of plant. For instance, iron might be required in slightly higher quantities than molybdenum. Generally, the total requirement of all micronutrients combined is less than 1% of the plant’s total nutrient uptake. Soil and tissue tests are the best ways to determine the specific needs of plants for micronutrients.

Conclusions 

Crops require some nutrients for their growth and development. These are present in the form of macro and micronutrients. Micronutrients also play an essential role in the growth of the plants. They perform various functions within the plants that are related to the development and functioning of their parts. Their absence affects plant growth and also reduces the overall crop yields.

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