Check Cobalt in Your Legumes

Like we’ve shared in several recent newsletters, we at BigYield.us view supplementing micronutrient levels as a potential strategy to maximize yields. Limited micronutrient supplies may prevent crops from taking full advantage of otherwise favorable environmental conditions and achieving their yield potential.

Yield Booster from BigYield.us adds seven vital micronutrients – boron, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, sodium molybdate and zinc – to a 12-9-6 fertilizer. This week, let’s talk cobalt.

Cobalt especially has importance when growing legumes. Plants other than legumes can tolerate less cobalt being available. According to a publication from the International Plant Nutrition Institute, cobalt serves as a key link within the nitrogen fixation process. It’s essential for vitamin B12 and hemoglobin synthesis. Without adequate hemoglobin, legumes fail to fix nitrogen as capably. In addition to cobalt’s nitrogen-fixation role, multiple enzymes and co-enzymes rely on cobalt as a component. Those enzymes have been linked to plant growth and metabolism.

Cobalt deficiencies may be most likely in weathered soils that have coarse textures. In those cases, cobalt stores in the soil could be at low depths. To know whether legumes are experiencing a cobalt deficiency, look for those turning yellow or those with stunted growth. Plants experiencing cobalt toxicity may display symptoms such as new growth with interveinal chlorosis and leaves that develop later with white margins and tips, according to the International Plant Nutrition Institute. In this story from Ag Professional, the International Plant Nutrition Institute shares more information about approaching micronutrient management.

Given its role in vitamin B12 synthesis, cobalt must be part of livestock diets. To ensure that diets include adequate cobalt, livestock producers may add legumes in pastures where livestock graze, provide supplements to their animals or amend the grazing area with fertilizer that includes cobalt, according to the International Plant Nutrition Institute.

In this video, Kent Kauffman of BigYield.us describes more information about Yield Booster and shares about our research program for the year that includes Yield Booster tests.

For more information about supplementing cobalt levels or applying Yield Booster on your operation, contact us anytime.

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