Maize has a high demand for nutrients due to its high yield potential. These high yields of over 40t/ha can only be achieved if the crop can access enough nutrients via its roots.

However, many crops will be limited as a result, and this is where using a foliar fertiliser, to supplement traditional soil-applied fertiliser and manures, can fill this nutrient shortfall.

Foliar nutrition

Zinc and magnesium deficiencies are the two most widespread nutritional disorders in maize. Zinc is important for photosynthetic activity, while magnesium is essential for the early establishment of the plant.

A deficiency is reflected in reduced crop yield at harvest. Zinc deficiency symptoms appear as a distinct yellow striping of the leaves, while early symptoms of magnesium deficiency include diffuse chlorosis between leaf veins.

Phosphorus and potash are primary nutrients, however many soils have not got the capacity to deliver an adequate supply. Phosphorus is absorbed by the plants during the entire vegetation cycle of maize, but is most critical in the initial growth stages.

Phosphorus availability can be reduced for different reasons, primarily because of low soil pH and low soil fertility but also when soils are dry. Foliar phosphorus is not just utilised in the leaves and the stem but is easily translocated from the leaf to the roots to support root development.

One or more of the above is often deficient in the growing maize plant. This nutritional shortage is particularly important as the plant reaches the 10-leaf stage, just before stem elongation.

Maize stressed at this point can result in tall, thin plants, with poor root systems and reduced leaf area. Reduced leaf area captures less light, resulting in lower yields.

So what can you do?

To overcome the risk of nutrient deficiency apply 1-2 applications of foliar fertiliser either as standalone applications or combined with herbicide applications up to the 10-leaf stage.

YaraVita MAIZE BOOST is specifically formulated for foliar applications on maize. It will deliver a high concentration of phosphate, zinc, magnesium and potash to maximise maize yield and quality this harvest.

Click here for more information on MAIZE BOOST.

Grassland weed control

If you’re taking the sprayer out to control grassland weeds on grass this summer, it’s also worth considering adding a foliar fertiliser to the tank.

The effectiveness of herbicides on grassland can be improved if the correct foliar fertiliser is tank-mixed with the herbicide.

This foliar fertiliser is absorbed by both the target and non-target species and stimulates plant growth including the weeds, and plants which are growing actively are more likely to translocate the active ingredients within the herbicide more effectively around the plant and down into the roots. This results in the herbicide working more effectively on the target weed species.

A phytotoxic effect of herbicides on grass swards, is often seen as a ‘check’ in growth on newly sprayed swards and especially when growing conditions are not ideal. The application of a foliar fertiliser in combination with the herbicide helps to lessen the side effect of the herbicide on the sward.

An added bonus on reseeds, is the improved growth of grass seedlings, which in turn will promote tillering, reducing light and space for any new germinating weeds.

For this, YaraVita Croplift Pro is recommended at a rate of 5kg/ha (2kg/ac) in conjunction with your grass herbicide. This foliar fertiliser containing multiple nutrients and micronutrients for foliar application on grassland is ideal at times of stress or periods of rapid growth.

Its highly concentrated nutrient formulation, is more than just a ‘foliar nitrogen’. It has excellent nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) balance with a good sulphur and magnesium contribution.

It is compatible in tank mixes with most grassland herbicide products and it has excellent plant absorption properties, giving an immediate and long-lasting feeding effect on stressed grass crops.

In the words of S. Muldoon, Agri Ltd: “YaraVita Croplift Pro is an excellent product when used with a herbicide spray. It boosts grass growth causing no lag. If a farmer tries it once, they most definitely use it again.”

For more information on Croplift Pro click here, and for more information on YaraVita products, click here.