Plants derive their nutrition from the soil that they grow in, and this soil must be fortified periodically so as to provide the crop with the nourishment it needs to grow healthily. This nutrition is provided through ‘micronutrients’, which are important agents of plant growth. Plants require a mix of micronutrients such as Copper, Manganese, Boron, Zinc, Nickel, Chloride and Molybdenum. These are known as primary micronutrients that must be present in adequate amounts to aid growth. However, a deficiency of all or any of these micronutrients will affect the overall quality of the produce and constitutes an inferior crop.
Micronutrients catalyze biochemical reactions such as auxin synthesis, photosynthesis, formation of chlorophyll and amino acid synthesis are vital building blocks responsible for the qualitative growth of plants. Thus, the presence of micronutrients determines the quality of the final produce.
Crops grown in most of the soils in India suffer from deficiencies of one or more micronutrients, even though the soil often contains apparently adequate amount of the respective elements. The nature and extent of deficiencies varies with soil type, crop, genotype, management and agro-ecological solutions. Micronutrient deficiencies are now frequently observed in intensively grown cereals, oil seeds, pulses and vegetable crops. With intensive cropping, deficiencies of Zinc initially and subsequently deficiencies of Iron and Boron emerge as threat to sustaining high levels of food crop production.
In India, the most common micronutrient soil deficiencies are illustrated below:
An agricultural-based economy like India can least afford to ignore the diminishing crop yield per hectare.
What causes micronutrient deficiency in Indian soil?
While there are several factors that cause micronutrient deficiency in Indian soil, it is the nature of the soil that is quite important, i.e., alkaline or acidic. Other factors include excessive or little monsoon, water logging, competing heavy metal ions in the soil, and the crop’s sensitivity to the uptake of micronutrients. These vary from crop to crop as well. Another reason is repeated harvesting, followed by high usage of chemically-dense fertilizers.
The solution lies in aiding the absorption of micronutrients so that plant nutrition and development is ensured. But this must be done according to the type of crop, the type of soil in which the crop is planted and its unique nutritional needs. Other popular ways of maximizing the output from farming is to plan an interplay between monsoons, irrigation in the non-monsoon months and effective fertilization to get a bumper crop. This last factor, that of fertilization, may be aided via sprays or ‘feeding’ of nutrients to crops via the soil.
How BASF solved the problem of soil and plant micronutrient deficiency?
BASF studied the problem of micronutrient deficiency in great details across several geographical locations. The Microgranular Librel® range developed by BASF offers an unrivalled solution to beat the nutrient deficient tendency of Indian soil. It was found that chelates (kind of like fortified food for plants) dissolve quickly in the soil and are compatible with most other crop care products that farmers may introduce for soil and plant efficiency. It tackles micronutrient deficiency with ease, offering the following excellent benefits:
Higher yield: It was found that regular use of Librel® increased crop production by improving soil fertility. It replaces key soil elements that conventional fertilizers are unable to replenish.
Predictable output: Since Librel® operates on the principles of organic chelate chemistry, regular use leads to the creation of balanced bio-available micronutrient sources. This results in rapid absorption, thus leading to good growth. Regular use of Librel® thus results in predictable crop development.
Compatible with other substances: Librel® chelates are compatible with other crop care products and agro chemicals. Therefore, farmers can save the trouble of changing their regular tank mixing proportion.
Versatile: Librel® is available for use as non-dusty, free flowing microgranules that dissolve rapidly and do not form residue or scum. This is an important consideration, especially since they do not cause nozzle blockages in the spraying tanks, nor are specialized tanks required to dispense these chelates.
Economical: When used in recommended dosage, only small amount of Librel® is sufficient. Thus, it is an affordable micronutrient source for large tracts of crops.
Agri-based activities are highly variable due to several external dependencies like weather, amount of rainfall, farming techniques, seed and soil quality. Through Librel® products, BASF has enabled a great level of certainty in soil nutrition. Farmers using BASF’s Librel® range of microgranular plant micronutrients are reporting astounding results.