Boron deficiency could pose a threat to the oilseed rape crops this spring following a wet and cold end to winter.
Growers should monitor for micronutrient deficiencies and treat rape with boron applications where necessary to get the most from the crop, advises Chris Bond, commercial technical manager for crop nutrition at FMC.
“UK growers have been tormented by wet weather over the past few weeks, with reports of severe flooding and snow across the country. Wet weather is one of the biggest risk factors for boron deficiency, with the micronutrient easily leaching.”
Boron is a key nutrient for rape and has a range of important roles in crop development, particularly in cell division and enlargement. As the crop begins to grow rapidly at stem extension, these processes encourage healthy plant progression.
Boron will also promote successful flowering, pod, and seed development. Mr Bond says a close eye on the situation will pay dividends – especially in a season where there appears to be renewed optimism for the crop.
“We’ve heard many reports that crops were healthy with good canopies going into winter, so it would be a shame to let things faulter at this point in the season as a result of preventable nutrient deficiencies,” he says.
The first step growers should take to halt micronutrient deficiencies should be tissue testing in the early spring when crops are coming out of dormancy. Once growers understand what nutrients are lacking, applications of foliar nutrition can help rectify any deficiencies.
Liquid applications of boron, such as Bo-La or Boron 15, should be applied at stem extension at 2.5 l/ha in at least 200 litres of water. Bo-La also contains a source of molybdenum which is linked to nitrogen utilisation and assimilation into amino acids.
“Micronutrient deficiencies are often easily remedied through nutritional applications but getting on top of the issue as early as possible before visual symptoms develop will help ensure yield targets are reached later down the line,” says Mr Bond.