Just like humans, plants need a balanced diet and if they don’t get that they won’t perform to their best.
For example, all farmers know nitrogen is one of the biggest elements affecting plant yield, but applying it in excessive amounts will not make up for a lack of available nutrients in the soil.
Nutrient deficiencies in plants can come as a result of inadequate soil fertility and soil pH levels or low biological activity which helps to unlock nutrients, while some soils are naturally low or high in certain elements.
By the time deficiencies appear in the crop, much of the damage has been done, but treatment can still have some effect.
However, prevention is always better than cure and carrying out leaf analysis samples can guide farmers in the elements to apply.
Many trace elements can have a big effect on yield and plant health.
A simple example is where manganese is lacking and brown dots form on the leaf, decreasing photosynthesis and in turn yield.
Plants suffering from a deficiency are automatically not as strong and therefore are more susceptible to disease and less able to fight disease.
Plant sap analysis
Plant sap analysis is one method of identifying nutrient deficiencies in the plant and, in turn, problems in the soil. While the immediate reaction may be to apply a trace element, it is important that farmers then take action and rectify the problem in the soil by applying a fertiliser or trying to increase soil microbial activity and soil health to allow nutrients to be released.
Plant sap analysis can be returned within 72 hours and allows farmers to apply the elements needed by the crop
Taking a leaf sample is similar to a soil sample. The sample must be representative of the whole crop so take random plant samples across fields.
If there is a problem area in the field, an individual sample from this area may resolve some curiosity.
Plant sap analysis can be returned within 72 hours and allows farmers to apply the elements needed by the crop. This may be a mix of nutrients or some crops may require a large application of one element.