One of the first steps towards a successful nutrient management is to get to know essential nutrients and their role in a crop development.
Macronutrients are essential for healthy and vigorous crops. Each crop has its own nutrient requirements. The deficiency or excessive amounts of nutrients can seriously harm the crops and reduce yields.
Crops, as well as every other living organisms, require certain amounts of nutrients for a normal and healthy growth. Each nutrient plays different, but important role in crop growth and development. In that way, it’s essential to ensure optimal quantities of each nutrient in a form usable by a crop. In other words, without proper nutrient management, it’s hard to achieve high yields and healthy and vigorous crops.
The first step towards a successful nutrient management is to get to know essential nutrients and their role in a crop development.
Macronutrients are elements essential for a normal crop growth that are required in relatively large amounts, such as:
- Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
- Calcium (Ca)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Sulfur (P)
The Most Important Crop Nutrients
Three of these macronutrients are the most important elements for crops. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium directly affect plant growth and practically create plant parts.
Nitrogen is a major part of many essential substances in plant metabolism such as amino acids, proteins, and enzymes.
For this reason, nitrogen is the most important element for crop growth and development. In that way, it strongly influences germination and vegetative growth.
Furthermore, nitrogen as a component of chlorophyll plays a vital role in photosynthesis. In doing so, nitrogen is responsible for rapid foliage growth and green colour.
The deficiency of nitrogen is manifested through the following symptoms:
- stunted crop growth
- chlorosis on leaves (light green to yellow foliage)
- weakness during the flowering and fruiting which results in lower yields
On the other hand, too much of nitrogen causes lush growth, dark green color of leaves, crop lodging, and reduces the fruit quality.
Together with Nitrogen, Phosphorus is also extremely important crop nutrient because it affects:
- root development
- quality of flowering, fruiting and seed production
- energy storage and transport
- disease resistance
Phosphorus deficiency symptoms include:
- stunded growth
- weak roots
- thin shoots
- dark green, purple, or red leaves
Generally, excessive amounts of phosphorus are not harmful for crops. However, too much of phosphorus causes lower reception and deficiency of other elements (Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, B).
The third essential crop nutrient is Potassium. The key role of Potassium is that it influences the uptake of water. Along with that, it improves drought resistance.
Another important role of Potassium includes:
- cold hardiness improvement
- resistance to fungal diseases and insect pests
- synthesis of protein, fat and sugar
The deficiency of Potassium causes reduced growth, yellowing or burning of the leaf margins, and dead spots on older leaves.
On the contrary, the excessive amounts of Potassium may affect the uptake of other nutrients, such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Nitrogen.
Importance of Crop Nutrition Management
If we take a closer look at above mentioned consequences of deficiency or excessive amounts of each nutrient, it’s much easier to understand the importance of proper crop nutrition management. Macronutrients play a vital role in a crop life cycle. In that way, they directly affect crop yields.
In aiming to reach maximum crop potential, farmers have to adjust nutrients according to the crop needs. Therefore, it’s essential to have in mind that every crop has its own nutrient requirements.
Be careful, and feed your crops by following their needs. After all, those crops are the food on our tables
- Tasos on December 8, 2021 @ 19:09:25
This post was created by Filip Gerin on July 20, 2021.
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