Sugar Producer

May 2010 Sugar Producer

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University of Idaho Cautions About Chelation Glyphosate-nutrient Combination Helps Grower Pile Up More Yield by Ron Butler GROWER MARK SPENCER OF SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb., says he had already found the detour around glyphosate-locked nutrients by the time the University of Idaho Extension freshened up its Southern Idaho Fertilizer Guide for Sugar Beets last winter and added a glyphosate cau- tion. “I’ve been using a different approach to nutrition, with a unique foliar-applied zinc and manganese in a tank-mix with glyphosate. Last year we had about four tons more beets per acre plus great weed control,” says Spencer. “The usual antagonism between the glyphosate and the nutrients did not seem to occur.” Spencer worked with his crop adviser, Rob Ford, field development agronomist with Simplot Grower Solutions, on the use of a new zinc/ manganese nutrient formulation called Sysstem- Ready. Unlike other common micronutrient forms, such as EDTA, amino acid, sugar com- plexes or other formulations, Sysstem-Ready is formulated with a phosphite ion that has high systemic properties. Sysstem-Ready also has been designed to prevent nutrients from becom- ing the target of glyphosate chelation, a com- mon problem with many nutrient formulations. “With this approach, the plant is not depen- dent entirely upon soil nutrients during those early days of intensive cellular development,” Ford explains. “The plant can absorb the zinc and manganese through tissue and move them wherever they are needed for critical growth stages.” Since that timing coincides with an early application of glyphosate, Spencer was able to enhance his crop’s nutrition while protecting it from weeds and avoiding the cost and compac- tion of an additional trip across the field. “Glyphosate tolerant sugarbeets have been a huge step forward in production, and now we have a complementary nutrition program to make it work all the better,” says Spencer. “A more vigorous crop with more yield and without hand weeding cost is just what we needed.” Sysstem-Ready was developed by Agro-K Corporation in Minneapolis as part of a Sysstem Series that includes other compatible nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. It’s the zinc and manganese that sugarbeets need most and earliest. Ford says multiple ap- plications help keep up the nutrient sufficiency all season long. MIDWEST LESSONS Much of that Midwest research the Univer- sity of Idaho cited was conducted by an Idaho native, Dr. Don Huber, plant pathologist and professor emeri tus in the Botany & Plant Pathol- ogy Department of Purdue University. Dr. Huber is one of several experts in plant physiol ogy and metabolism who have studied how nutrients enter, translocate and act upon the plant, how they interact with one another, and how they Mark Spencer, a sugarbeet grower from Scottsbluff, Neb. Spring couldn’t come soon enough for Spencer and other farmers around Scottsbluff, or for that matter wherever sugarbeets are produced, after a tough winter. 18 Sugar Producer May 2010

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