Like sulphur, Mg is moving into the foreground
No one is taking anything away from “The Big Three.” Clearly, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N, P and K) have a direct and powerful influence on yield, and must be managed with great skill.
Increasingly, though, we’re learning that secondary nutrients and micronutrients are also worth paying attention to.
In 2016, for instance, agronomists began raising awareness about sulphur levels that were dropping in Ontario and across much of Quebec. Environmental programs that have cut acid rain mean growers are no longer seeing the unintended deposition of sulphur that came from the wide-scale pollution of the past 50 years. In the face of cleaner air, the agronomic recommendation from retailers, extension personnel and advisers was to increase sulphur applications.
But why is the spotlight now on magnesium? It’s hard to overstate magnesium’s importance. A 2010 issue of Better Crops (published by the International Plant Nutrient Institute (IPNI)) lists eight crucial metabolic processes affected by magnesium. They include: photophosphorylation, photosynthetic carbon dioxide fixation, protein synthesis, chlorophyll formation, phloem loading, partitioning and utilization of photo-assimilates, generation of reactive oxygen species and photo-oxidation in leaf tissues.
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