Ask any farmer and they will explain the importance of soil. While seasonal weather can be the difference from a good harvest and a worrisome one, the soil moderates the long-term productivity of that harvest. The inherent properties of soil types are vital to know when it comes to management practices on any agricultural landscape.
“We rely on soil for so many different things, the list can be overwhelming at times,” said Bradley Miller, assistant professor of agronomy at Iowa State University. “You think about why the state of Iowa has the agricultural economy that it does, and that is largely because of the soil it has.”
Just like people, plants need nutrients to help them grow. Antonio Mallarino, professor of agronomy, has put together a team of scientists from across the Midwest to better understand how micronutrients aid growth and development of soybeans.
“Micronutrients are nutrients that are essential for crops but are only needed in very small amounts,” says Mallarino. “Those most commonly thought about by farmers are boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc.”
Mallarino led a team of researchers and extension specialists from five universities in reviewing micronutrient research on soybeans in the North Central region. This included over 200 field trials conducted in five states since 2012.