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When are foliar applications necessary?

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Mastering foliar fertilizer application methods and timing help maximize your crop’s efficiency. Follow these guidelines for proper foliar fertilizer application.

Factors to Consider

  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrient impact
  • Soil type
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Management plan

Action Plan

  1. Evaluate macronutrient availability. Avoid nutrient deficiencies later in the season with a solid fertility program. Macronutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) all need to be available in the root zone. Situations such as heavy rains can cause some essential nutrients to leach out of the root profile. Instinct® II and N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizers help keep N available longer in the root zone — when and where corn needs it most. If N, P and K are in place, foliar fertilizer applications later in the season can keep plants healthy and help corn reach optimum yield potential. If macronutrients are deficient, take corrective action immediately to help in maintaining yield potential.
  2. Conduct soil tests regularly. Unlike macronutrient deficiencies, micronutrient deficiencies are difficult to detect by just looking at the corn plant. Routine soil tests are essential to identify any micronutrient deficiencies. Occasional use of tissue tests also can help identify nutrient deficiencies.
  3. Manage accordingly. If nutrients are needed, apply only small amounts of chelated or low-salt materials. For larger-quantity materials, use split applications or apply more in soil applications in succeeding years to build up fertility levels to sufficient levels. If deficiencies are not readily seen or established from tissue testing, apply only small amounts. Excessive amounts can cause problems for crop uptake. Visit with a trusted agronomic adviser prior to foliar fertilizer application to determine if an application is economically feasible and beneficial.


If macronutrients are in place, applying micronutrients in foliar fertilizers can take a stable crop to the next level. For more information, contact your local Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.


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