Grant Borgward talks about
Farmer and National Sales Manager for RLFs
Grant Borgward talks about Applying Trace Elements
I’m going to talk today about a very broad fertiliser principle. That principle is the application of trace elements.
They are normally (or certainly in parts of Western Australia, but we don’t really want to be too specific about location) applications of super-phosphate, copper and zinc. These are basically the farmer’s answer to applying trace elements. And since the products have improved over the years, for any of your base fertilisers, you can now get them with zinc and copper, or with manganese and perhaps some molybdenum.
But, this is for the granular fertiliser delivery system. So, let’s give some numbers around this practice. The farmer needs about 40 grams of zinc to grow two tonnes of wheat per hectare. But to do this, you generally put about 200 grams of zinc per hectare onto the granule. But then, that’s getting diluted in let’s say, one hectare of soil. So, it is going to the soil, but there is absolutely no guarantee that the plant gets access to any of that 200 grams of zinc in the year of application.
So, by its very nature, trace elements are best applied as a foliar.
With foliar, we can put exactly 40 grams per hectare on, and it spreads on through the leaf. We can then be assured that every plant is getting the right amount of zinc into it, in the year of application.
So, as a very broad general rule, we should use granular fertiliser to supply the bulk of the major nutrients, and then we should use foliar fertiliser to make sure that all the trace elements are supplied this year so the crop won’t be short on trace elements. Inherently, if the trace elements are short, we know that we won’t get full utilisation of the base fertiliser that we put down.
Grant farms nearly 10,000 ha of mid-west land located southeast of Geraldton in Western Australia. A son of a farmer, Grant’s been bought-up on farm all of his life. In professional life Grant is the National Sales Manager of RLF for the last 18 years.
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