Crops require a balanced diet of essential nutrients throughout their growth cycle. Yara is the world’s leading producer of such nutrients through its wide range of nitrogen fertilizers. Many plant foods can be found in the soil, but often in insufficient quantities to sustain high crop yields. Soil and climatic conditions can also limit a plant’s uptake of nutrients at key growth stages. Crop scientists recognize that plants need 13 essential minerals, all of which play a number of important functions. If any of these is lacking, plant growth and yield suffer. Farmers can turn to LaKirshi
Of the major nutrients, nitrogen (N) is often required in the greatest quantity by crops, primarily for vigor and yield. Nitrogen plays a key role in chlorophyll production and protein synthesis. Chlorophyll is the green plant pigment responsible for photosynthesis. When nitrogen is deficient, plants develop yellow or pale leaves and their growth is stunted. Phosphorus (P), is a vital component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which supplies the energy for many processes in the plant. Phosphorus rarely produces spectacular growth responses, but is fundamental to the successful development of all crops. For example, maize or other corn crops that lack phosphorus during the growing season achieve lower yields. Potassium (K) is needed by virtually all crops and often in higher rates than nitrogen. Potassium regulates the plant’s water content and expansion. It is key to achieving good yield and quality in cotton and critical for increasing the size, juice content and sweetness of fruit.
Micronutrients reinforce and supplement the strong plant growth and structures provided by major and secondary nutrients.
Most micronutrients influence growth. For example, manganese (Mn), iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) all influence photosynthesis, the process whereby plants use sunlight for growth.
- Irondeficiencies are common – for example in seed fruits – where the effect is to reduce production of chlorophyll. As a result, crops struggle and younger leaves develop a severe yellowing or chlorosis.
Boron (B) is needed for the development of shoots and roots, and is essential during the flowering and fruiting phases of crops.
- Zinc (Zn)is needed for the production of important plant hormones, like auxin. Zinc deficiency leads to structural defects in leaves and other plant organs.
- Molybdenum (Mo)is involved in plant enzyme systems that control nitrogen metabolism.