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Will Micronutrient Product Boost Your ‘Flowers?

Tuesday, April 2, 2002
filed under: Optimizing Plant Development/Yields

Will Micronutrient Product Boost Your ‘Flowers?

The best advice might be to treat some acreage, compare it to an untreated check, and see for yourself.

Will a micronutrient product boost the performance of your sunflower and other crops? The best advice might be to treat some acreage, compare it to an untreated check, and see for yourself.

TJ Technologies, a Buffalo, S.D. company, markets a product called TJ Micromix, a mix of secondary and micronutrients available as a liquid or dry granule. The product is marketed for use on a number of field crops, including sunflower, and includes the following elements: calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc. “It’s not just a random selection of nutrients. We’ve spent a number of years figuring out how to formulate a product to give us consistent yield responses in a number of different soil situations,” says Tom Johnson, who heads the company that makes TJ Micromix.

At the National Sunflower Association’s 2001 Research Forum held earlier this year in Fargo, Johnson summarized the effect of the product on Pioneer hybrid 63M80 (NuSun) in field trials last summer. The trials were conducted near Hazelton and Kensal in North Dakota, and Onida and Selby in South Dakota.

All treatments received conventional NPK fertilizer applied uniformly across the plots, all planted at 30-inch row spacings. The dry granule product was applied at a rate of 20 lbs/ac in a 2x2 band. The liquid product was applied at a rate of 1.5 quarts/ac in a 2x2 band. Performance results are summarized in the table below.

A table of product performance results in sunflower plots going back to 1994, including trials in the High Plains and additional trials in the Dakotas, can be found on the company’s web site, Click on the link, “sunflower data.” According to that table, average gross return from using the product averaged $22.31 over 42 locations.

Johnson says the cost of the product is about $7-$8/acre. He says there has been no consistency in response to the product used in a foliar application; thus, it is recommended for use before or at planting. There is no nutrient carryover benefit to a subsequent crop, he says.

Duane Berglund, extension agronomist at North Dakota State University, says growers may want to try the product on a few acres to see how it performs.

Merle Vigil, soil fertility specialist at the USDA-ARS Central Great Plains Research Station, Akron, Colo., says that some soils respond to micronutrients. “In eastern Colorado, about the only micronutrients that we get a response to are zinc and iron, and that response is in oil percent, not necessarily yield.”

Vigil says that in eastern Colo., where dryland yield potential for sunflower is around 1,000 lbs, applying much additional fertilizer—including the primary nutrients NPK—may not be worth the cost. “In this part of the Plains, you may get a good yield response in corn and in wheat, but sunflower is a great cleanup crop. They do a good job of scavenging down into the soil profile and utilizing available soil nutrients that other crops have left behind. You may not have to put a lot of extra nutrients on Sunflower to obtain good yields. This is particularly true if the other previous rotation crops have been adequately fertilized.”

The recommendation for nitrogen is generally 50 lbs. per acre in the top two feet of soil for every 1,000 lb. yield goal. Thus, if a farmer is aiming for 2,000 lb. ‘flowers, the field would need 100 lbs. of N/acre, with the N already available in the soil or applied. – Tracy Sayler

Plot Location Treatment Yield Oil % Crop Value/acre* Product Benefit/acre*

Hazelton ND Check 1710 44.8 $187.42

Hazelton ND TJM Liquid 1976 45.9 $220.92 $33.50

Hazelton ND TJM Granule 1857 47.2 $212.44 $25.02

Kensal ND Check 2000 N/A $200

Kensal ND TJM Liquid 2119 N/A $211.90 $11.90

Kensal ND TJM Granule 2176 N/A $217.60 $17.60

Onida SD Check 2037 40.5 $205.74

Onida SD TJM Liquid 2143 44.2 $232.30 $26.56

Onida SD TJM Granule 2095 44.3 $227.52 $21.78

Selby SD Check 2037 40.5 $205.74

Selby SD TJM Liquid 2361 43.1 $250.74 $45.00

Selby SD TJM Granule 2361 44.3 $256.40 $50.67

* Based on sunflower price of 10 cents per pound; oil premium based on 2-for-1, above or below 40% oil. TJ Technologies Research Data

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