Wet conditions in the spring of 2019 created major planting challenges for many growers in the Corn Belt. Due to flooding and excess moisture in the fields, an estimated 19.4 million acres were left unplanted. Unfortunately, this creates favorable conditions for fallow syndrome, a phosphorus deficiency in the soil that can negatively impact next season’s crop.
Growers with fields left fallow in 2019 should consider making a fall or spring application of Extract Powered by Accomplish® (Extract PBA) to overcome the potential impact of fallow syndrome. Extract PBA helps growers maximize yields by releasing bound nutrients in the soil, making them available to the next crop.
What causes fallow syndrome?
When the soil is left fallow (uncultivated) for an extended period of time, changes in soil biology occur. In particular, a decrease in the population of specific beneficial fungi, called “vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae” or VAM, is observed. These mycorrhizal fungi help the roots of plants such as corn take up phosphorus and zinc, but they require actively growing roots to survive. The decline of these fungi in unplanted acres causes fallow syndrome, which primarily impacts grass crops like corn and small grains.
In addition to nutrient deficiencies, fallow conditions also impact soil quality due to reduced organic matter content (e.g., carbon and nitrogen) in the absence of crop residue. As a result, soil microbial functions within the soil are adversely affected, leading to reduced denitrification and soil respiration rates.
Corn is the crop that will be the most impacted in 2020. Affected corn plants will exhibit symptoms of phosphorus and zinc deficiency, including stunting, purple leaves, and uneven growth.
How can Extract PBA help?
Growers can turn to Extract PBA this fall to overcome phosphorus deficiency in fallow fields and help prevent fallow syndrome. This soil-applied biocatalyst is designed to improve soil health and effectively increase the release of nutrients from the soil. In fallow soil conditions, Extract PBA can assist by maximizing the availability of bound phosphorus for easier plant uptake.
In a recent study (Fig. 1) conducted in fallow soils in Minnesota, soil treated with Extract PBA showed a 30% increase in available phosphorus compared to untreated soil. Similar increases in potassium, zinc and several micronutrients were also observed in the study.
Figure 1. Percentage increase in fallow soil nutrient content after treatment with Extract PBA. Both P1 and P2 increased with treatment.
Nutrient release with Extract PBA has also been shown to help increase the yields of corn and other crops, as seen in a meta-analysis that includes 86 trial observations across corn, soybeans and wheat (Fig. 2).
Figure 2. The average yield increase with a fall or spring application of Extract PBA was 6.56 bu/acre across 86 trials in corn, soybeans and wheat.