TSM Services Research Farm, Catlin, Illinois, USA
     Total Soil Management® Program
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TSM® Services has given micronutrient manufacturers a special blend formulation for use on TSM® recommendations only. The micronutrients included in this formulation are Sulfur, Zinc, Manganese, Boron, Copper, and Iron.

Crops vary in their response to micronutrients. However, as was previously stated in the topic "Nutrient Relationships", a micronutrient soil test can be very deceiving. A micronutrient soil test can be compared to a P2 soil test - there is no way to know how much is available to the plant and how much is unavailable. If recommendations for or against micronutrients are based on the soil test alone, it is basically a guessing game. There is no way to know whether you will receive benefits or not.

Some believe that you should not apply micronutrients unless plants give a visual symptom that a deficiency exists. According to the A and L Agronomy Handbook, there has usually been a reduction in potential yield and in some cases a reduction in crop quality before these symptoms even appear! By not applying micronutrients you take the chance of yield reduction before you even know there is a problem.

What are the reasons that TSM® believes micronutrients are important? First and foremost, we want to make sure that there are micronutrients available for plant food throughout the growing season. There are 16 essential elements needed for plant growth. If the soil is deficient in even one of these 16, even when they are only needed in trace amounts by the plant, yield reductions occur.

The formulation of the TSM® micronutrients is a special blend to supply highly available micronutrients in ratios needed by the plant. To repeat a previous statement, just looking at a soil test cannot tell you whether your micronutrients are available to the plant.

Second, we believe micronutrients are important for "nutrient relationships". We believe the micronutrients make the plant use the macronutrients more efficiently, including Phosphorus, Potassium, and Nitrogen.

Third, pH has a tremendous effect on the availability of micronutrients to the plant. When your pH reaches 7.0 and climbs higher, micronutrient availability to the plant decreases sharply. The same would be true on low pH soils (5.5 and below). With the application of the TSM® micronutrient package in the fertilizer grades recommended, you can know that micronutrients will be available to the plant throughout the growing season.

Here are some of the roles played by micronutrients
in the TSM® soil fertility program:
  • Boron
    • Increases stalk strength
    • Helps pollination
    • Increases seed production
    • Moves sugar and starch
    • Makes proteins
    • Helps nodule formation
  • Copper
    • Needed for respiration
    • Used in photosynthesis
    • Makes protein
    • Increases seed production
    • Controls diseases
  • Iron
    • Increases seed production
    • Needed for making chlorophyll
    • Needed for respiration
    • Makes protein
    • Used in photosynthesis
    • Helps in nitrogen fixation
  • Manganese
    • Needed for photosynthesis
    • Needed in making chlorophyll
    • Helps plant use nitrogen
    • Helps plant use iron
  • Zinc
    • Helps generate energy
    • Transports nutrients
    • Makes protein
    • Regulates plant processes
    • Used in root development
    • Works as a growth hormone
    • Increases seed production
    • Hastens maturity

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