The Importance of Mid-Season Foliar Applications for Soybeans and Corn

Targeted foliar applications can maximize yield potential by delivering essential nutrients during the critical summer months.

June 5, 2024
6 mins
Dr. Jason Haegele
North American Agronomy Lead, ICL Growing Solutions

Soy much potential!

In the dynamic world of agriculture, precision and timing are crucial. As we enter summer, soybean and corn growers are presented with a prime opportunity to enhance crop performance through strategic foliar applications. Our trial research shows that foliar application, including both macronutrients and micronutrients, is an important tool for increasing yields. Foliar applications are a flexible way to address deficiencies, enhance photosynthesis, and alleviate stress symptoms, ultimately boosting reproductive growth.

Here are a few of the reasons why you should consider integrating mid-season foliar applications into your nutrient management plan:

Meeting Nutrient Demands During Critical Growth Stages

As soybeans and corn transition from vegetative to reproductive growth, their nutrient demands skyrocket. Micronutrients like zinc, molybdenum and macros like potassium are essential for supporting flowering, pod set, and grain fill. Mid-season foliar applications ensure these vital nutrients are readily available when plants need them most.

Flexibility and Precision for Addressing Soil and Plant Nutrient Deficiencies

Despite diligent fertilization, soil nutrient availability can become unpredictable and inadequate to support plant demand. Mid-season foliar application provides growers with a flexible and efficient means of nutrient delivery, offering a targeted solution to supplement deficient nutrients quickly and efficiently, bypassing potential soil constraints and ensuring direct nutrient delivery to the plant.

Maximizing Yield Potential and Quality

Balanced plant nutrition is key to maximizing yield potential and quality. Growers can promote vigorous growth, efficient reproductive development, and optimal quality attributes by ensuring micronutrient adequacy through mid-season foliar applications. Even stress tolerance and resilience can be enhanced with a balanced and consistent nutrient management plan.

Nova – Unlocking the Power of Foliar Nutrition

Foliar application is a powerful tool in a grower’s arsenal to optimize yields and quality. ICL’s Nova line of water-soluble and liquid fertilizers offers a range of innovative foliar products tailored to address specific needs during different growth stages:

  • Nova PULSE™ (0-6-4 +1.3S 0.5Co 10Mo 6Zn): A pioneering P-K + micronutrient formula designed for pulse crops to improve N fixation and yield, ideal for vegetative growth.
  • Nova ELEVATE (1.2 Co + 26 Mo): A unique N-P-K free micronutrient blend to improve nitrogen use efficiency and stress tolerance at any stage.
  • Nova FINISH (8-12-40 + full EDTA chelated micros): A boost of K plus micronutrient essentials to help plants thrive late in the season.
  • Nova FLOW (5-10-20 +9Mg 11.7S 0.5B): A combination of nutrients for supporting late-season photosynthetic activity. Ideal for partnering with foliar fungicide applications on corn.

Featured Trial: Nova PULSE and Nova FINISH on Soybean

Application Timing: Early vegetative (V4-V6) and flowering stages (R1-R2)

Soil Type: Milford Silty Clay Loam (pH 7.1, 49 ppm P, 133 ppm K)

Yield Increase: 11.4% vs control

Location: Whitewater, WI

Result: Foliar application of Nova PULSE and Nova FINISH resulted in yield responses averaging 7.7 bushels/A, with significant grower return on investment. See full trial here.

Agronomist Tips:

  • Timing is key! Experience more significant soybean yield responses by timing foliar applications with the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth at R1-R2.
  • Tank mix to optimize operations! Optimize economics by aligning crop protection applications (like fungicide and insecticide) with Nova foliar applications.
  • Don’t forget about micronutrients! Cobalt and molybdenum are critical micronutrients for soybeans, supporting nitrogen fixation, enzyme activation, protein synthesis, and stress tolerance. Ensuring sufficient availability of these micronutrients is essential for maximizing soybean yields and overall crop productivity.

Staying ahead of your nutrient needs is essential for optimal harvests. Now is the time to start considering your summer foliar applications.