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Zinc: Top 5 Things You Need to Know

Zn deficiency corn internotes

When you have a cold, you may look to zinc to help boost your immune system. Similarly, zinc helps protect crops against cold temperatures. That’s not the only function of zinc, though. Zinc is a key component of multiple enzymes responsible for metabolic reactions in all crops. Without these enzymes—a.k.a. without zinc—plant growth and development would stop. Let’s dive into more reasons why zinc is an essential micronutrient.

1. Zinc is immobile in plants

Like calcium and many other micronutrients, zinc doesn’t easily move within plant tissue. Because of the lack of mobility, signs of zinc deficiency commonly show up in new leaves, while older leaves cling to the nutrient. If your crops are zinc deficient, you will likely see chlorosis of new leaves—which will be smaller in size and potentially appear cupped or curled. Specific symptoms vary by crop, such as shortened internodes on corn stalks.

2. You can see benefits from a single zinc application for 2-3 years

As you nourish your soil with zinc, you can continue to reap the benefits for up to three years. BW-BioZinc 9%, is a unique formula of zinc and EDTA, and is known for helping crops quickly bounce back from adverse growing conditions. BioZinc releases minerals faster than most other agricultural zinc products on the market, efficiently correcting soil and plant deficiencies.

3. Zinc exists naturally in rocks

Rocks, especially igneous rocks, are a natural zinc source. For crops, this means diverse soil profiles with high levels of organic matter contain more zinc. Rocks in the field usually are considered a problem, but small rocks within the soil can be beneficial for providing zinc to your crops through the soil.

4. Cold soil needs more zinc

Cooler soil temperatures slow down the mineralization of soil organic matter, which leads to less zinc being released into the soil. Because of this, zinc is typically needed more from late fall through winter and early spring. Sandy and highly leached acidic soils are also more susceptible to zinc deficiency, partially because their temperatures lower at a quicker rate than more dense soils.

5. Zinc toxicity can occur

Although it’s not common, zinc toxicity can occur if levels within plant tissue exceed 200 ppm. Most crops can tolerate high zinc levels, but cereals are prone to toxicity. Signs of zinc toxicity are similar to the signs of deficiency, making both tough to identify. You may notice chlorosis of new leaves, necrotic leaf tips and smaller overall plant and leaf size. But, remember, deficiency is much more common than toxicity.

Although a micronutrient, the benefits of zinc in your crops are anything but small. If your fields could use more zinc, look to BW-BioZinc 9% at planting and BW-Advance in season.