Manganese is the most commonly deficient trace element in UK soils affecting many crops including cereals, field vegetables, brassicas root and horticultural crops. Availability of manganese is affected by the high soil pH in peaty or over-limed soils, high organic matter, where compaction or poor drainage restricts rooting or where the crop has been sown into a loose, aerated seed bed with poor root soil contact.
The Importance of Manganese
It plays a key role in photosynthesis and is vital for many plant enzyme systems with deficiencies impacting on health, root and shoot growth, yield and quality. Manganese is also important in supporting the plant’s natural defence systems and has been linked to the suppression of fungal and bacterial diseases such as powdery mildew and Take-all.
Advances in Manganese Treatments
Traditionally manganese deficiencies have been treated through application of micronutrients in the form of salts such as Manganese Sulphate supplied as a powder or in liquid solutions. Both these forms require high application rates and bring with them the associated problems of transportation and disposal of packaging. Flowable liquid suspensions are another option. These generally allow for much higher concentrations, have longer lasting effects and good tank mix compatibility but because they are naturally insoluble in water in order to dissolve and become available to the plant they need the moisture and fluid exudates from the leaf which can be a slow process particularly in periods of hot dry weather.
Ilex High Efficiency Manganese Treatments
Our approach at Ilex has been to develop highly concentrated formulations with rapid and efficient plant uptake making them both easy to use and effective at low application rates.
Mn Plus is a fully water soluble liquid emulsion with a high level of active ingredient per unit giving similar concentrations to suspension products but with more immediate plant availability. It can be applied to arable crops at as little as 0.5 litres per hectare and up to 1.5 litres per hectare for severe deficiencies. It is combined with nitrogen and sulphur to assist healthy growth.
Maniphos takes a different approach, using phosphite chemistry to increase the action and mobility of the manganese to achieve lower application rates. Maniphos is fully water soluble for ease of use and has good tank mix compatibility. Maniphos combines manganese with sulphur to prevent deficiencies impacting on yield and includes phosphorus and potassium to boost health, vigour and quality. Its zero nitrogen formulation allows for use on peas and field beans and all year round application to cereals.
Manganese seed treatments are now routinely applied to counter deficiencies, providing manganese at early growth stages when there is too little leaf cover for effective foliar uptake. Applying manganese as a seed treatment also avoids possible delays in applying a foliar due to adverse spraying conditions. Start-Up MAXX is a new form of seed treatment combining phosphite chemistry and bioactive compounds for early rooting with a manganese-rich nutrient package. Formulated as a true solution it applies evenly and dries quickly which is important for drilling as it allows seed to run easily through the drill.
Manganese deficiencies represent a real threat to yield in arable and horticultural crops but they can now be managed effectively with a combination of well formulated seed treatments and foliar nutrients for efficient uptake.
Brian Aconley, Business Development Director
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