Disease? Or Nutrient Deficiency?

April 29, 2024

As crop consultants, we are very inquisitive about challenges that growers are facing. Because of this, we frequently send samples of crops that are showing disease to a local lab to get tested. This has been very interesting because sometimes the results come back saying that there is no disease found, when there was obviously something wrong with the plant.

Of course, there is always the possibility that the testing done was incomplete. Whatever the case, though, we are of the persuasion that every disease starts with a nutritional deficiency or imbalance.

Here is a great example. On June 16, 2023, we visited this grower who is growing squash to harvest the blossoms. The first planting, to the left, was expressing a “dis-ease”. The squash was turning yellow and dying down quite rapidly.

Figure 1. Dis-eased squash. 6/16/2023

We recommended that they drip irrigate 5 pounds amino acid Nitrogen, 2 quarts Rebound Molybdenum, and 1 quart MicroPak (all per acre), something that I had seen work before.

5 weeks later, on July 21, we stopped in again at the same grower, and lo and behold, the squash had revived, (except by the door at the very end of the greenhouse). The grower said it took about 7-10 days after the application till the squash were dark green again as shown in the photo below.

Figure 2. Dis-eased squash five weeks later – after application of specified nutrition.

We have since repeated this application on multiple other farms and have seen similar responses on nearly 100% of farms where we tried it. In some instances, we have seen a significant bump in yield over other years.

The lesson is this. When plants are given the right nutrition, they will respond in ways that are unexpected. We don’t always know what those nutritional deficiencies are (that is why you should test) but we do know that when we correct the nutrition in an actively growing crop, it will help prevent disease, or even stop it in its tracks.

We might also point out that biology is a very important part of nutrient delivery to plants. Do not expect that you can perfectly balance the soil minerals, without regard to biology, to get nutrient dense and healthy crops. It simply won’t work.

Share This:

Source: Melvin Fisher | Sponsored by Keystone Bio-Ag LLC