I have spent time in several cotton fields in the past 2-3 weeks that are showing potassium deficiency prior to boll load. Several things can contribute to the plant being deficient this early. One possibility is the taproot cannot penetrate the hardpan of the soil. Cotton’s root structure is not very efficient at transporting nutrients even in the best conditions, and when it is limited by compaction or hardpans this can severely limit nutrient uptake. Other problems include dry growing conditions in the case of rain-fed crops. Potassium moves into the root by diffusion. If the soil is too dry potassium cannot enter soil solution and move down the concentration gradient into the plant. Nematodes restrict root growth and this can contribute to deficiencies as well. Yield losses are certain in fields that show deficiencies during bloom. Cotton root growth slows during flowering. The cotton plant begins to shift more energy and resources to boll production.
When root uptake is limited, there is an opportunity for foliar nutrition to feed the crop during critical times. The best time to foliar feed cotton is the 1st - 4th week of bloom. Using a quality foliar product that is fully formulated is important. Fully formulated means the product contains the correct particle size that can be absorbed by the leaf, and also contains stickers, wetters and absorption aids to ensure the most nutrient possible gets into the plant.
Cotton root restricted by hardpan
A balanced nutritional health is critical for any crop, including cotton. Soil and tissue analysis are beneficial and necessary during key growth stages for diagnosing nutritional imbalances and helping to prevent hidden hunger scenarios within your crop. However, we must keep in mind that the availability of nutrients in the soil is dependent on the source of the nutrient within the soil. With supplemental foliar applications, we can help ensure that your cotton is not only receiving the fundamental nutrients needed for these key growth stages, but we are also providing the nutrients in a form that is going to be readily available to the plant, resulting in optimal nutritional uptake through the leaves. At Yara, we formulate all YaraVita foliar products with the crops nutritional needs being the pivotal point of the formulating process. All products are formulated to help maximize the plant's ability to utilize the nutrients through leaf absorption to help your crop reach its optimal growth and yield potential.
For more information on how YaraVita Foliars can make an impact on your crop, please contact your local Sales Agronomist and YaraVita Product Specialist.
Sales Agronomist, Southeast
Creating the right nutrient management strategy in Cotton production is not a “one-size-fits-all” prescription. Cotton is grown in vastly different environments with differing soil conditions and yield potentials. Any nutrient program needs to be designed for these variables. But where do you start? Find these answers and more in this free webinar by Cotton Grower.