How to prevent element deficiencies
Published 12/04/2011 | 05:00
Soil analysis is the most reliable tool to establish levels of most trace elements on your farm.
The main advantage is that it provides information in advance of when to take action to counteract a deficiency.
The risk of a deficiency is when soils are at soil index 1 and 2, as shown in table 1 (right).
The results of soil samples tested for trace elements by Teagasc over the past four years (2007-2010) are summarised in table 2 (below).
It shows that 15pc of soil samples are very low to low (index 1 or 2) for soil manganese (Mn), while 22pc of tillage soils are very low to low for zinc (Zn) and around 4pc of samples are very low to low for soil copper (Cu) levels.
How to correct a trace element deficiency
There are a wide range of trace element products on the market, such as nitrate- and sulphate-based inorganic formulations, chelates, suspension concentrates and flowable products.
The products are differentiated by their mode of action. For example, chelated, sulphate- and nitrate-based products have the advantage of rapid plant uptake and movement into the plant tissue.