Two Minutes With Mick

Feb 17, 2020


Zinc.  Of all the micronutrients, zinc stands out as one of the most critical ones in all of Winfield United’s research.  That is why we add the zinc coating Fortivent ZN to all new production of Croplan hybrids.  One of the main functions of zinc is to provide energy to a plant.  Our agronomists often refer to zinc as being the “forklift” to get other nutrients into the corn plant.  A few years ago, Winfield United analyzed a set of NutriSolution samples and found that where zinc was adequate, N, P, K, and S were adequate at least 85% of the time.  However, when zinc was deficient, N, K, and S were deficient 60-70% of the time and K was deficient one third of the time.

Zinc tie-up in the soil:  Zinc most commonly forms positively charged cations with a charge of +2.  All soils are negatively charged.  That means zinc is held tightly in the soil, and particularly young plants have a difficult time pulling it out of the soil even when soil tests show that zinc is at adequate levels.  That is why it really pays to have a highly available form of zinc for the V stages of corn.  Chelation provides protection from tie up in the soil and makes all positively charged micronutrients more available to the plant.  We estimate that an EDTA Ultra-Che 9% Zinc is 10 times and Citri-Che 10% Zinc is 3 to 5 times more available than an ammoniated zinc.  And we estimate that the zinc in Corn Mix LS or LS 10% Zinc is 5 to 7 times more available than a zinc sulfate formulation.

Which is better, EDTA Ultra-Che 9% Zinc or Citri-Che 10% Zinc?  That answer depends.  If a grower is using 10-34-0 and does not have high pH or high clay content soils, then the Citri-Che zinc would be a good fit at a little lower investment.  Part of this is that 10-34-0 is made as an 80% polyphosphate form of fertilizer.  Mixing is not as critical with polyphosphates.  However, as polyphosphates warm, they begin converting to a higher percent of an orthophosphate and mixing issues can become a problem.  To ensure that mixing is never a problem, some retailers have completely moved to Ultra-Che 9% Zinc.  If the soil is high in pH or clay content, or you are mixing with an orthophosphate (like a 6-24-6 or a 9-18-9), then it is highly recommended that you use Ultra-Che 9% Zinc.  The mixing and the availability of the zinc is significantly better. 

Another Option:  Another Zinc option is our product OptiStart Local.  OptiStart Local is designed to be used at 1 gallon per acre with 10-34-0.  It is 0-0-12-4.2S-.7Mn-2.2Zn.  Both the zinc and manganese are EDTA chelated.  

A Little Extra: Last week I was really struggling on what to get my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. I mean, I’d hate to get her the same thing as her husband does. That would be embarrassing.


Mick Morrell District Sales Manager – Performance Optimization Land O’Lakes Inc.

C 402.690.7386 |

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