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Nutri-Facts - North America

A series of fact sheets written by scientific staff of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) that is focused on essential plant nutrients and their use.

 

A Complete Nutri-Facts Set

IPNI has completed its most recent fact sheet series - Nutri-Facts. The easy-to-read series is comprised of 17 individual pieces that correspond to nutrients categorized as essential, beneficial, or important to plants. The series discusses the role of nutrients in plant metabolism, their reactions in soil, and solutions to overcoming deficiency. By explaining how each nutrient plays a vital role in plant growth, these fact sheets help us all understand the importance of fertilizer and soil fertility management. The attached pdf is a complete set of all 17 fact sheets. The file size is 22 MB.

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Boron

Over the past 80 years, hundreds of reports have documented a role for boron (B) in agricultural crops around the world. Responses to fertilization have been documented in almost every state and province in the U.S. and Canada. Alfalfa frequently responds, and so do a large number of fruit, vegetable and field crops.

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Calcium

Calcium (Ca) nutrition plays a vital role in the production of highquality crops. It also has an important function as a valuable soil amendment in many situations.

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Chloride

Chloride is commonly found in nature—from seas, to soils, to the air—it’s everywhere. It is a monovalent anion, having a single negative charge (Cl-). Plants take up the element chlorine in this anionic form. Under standard conditions chlorine (Cl) is an unstable, yellow-green gas. Unlike Cl- , free Cl rarely occurs in nature.

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Cobalt

Cobalt (Co) fertilization is occasionally reported to benefit crop growth, but the need for supplemental Co is rather rare. Cobalt has only recently been recognized as a potentially essential nutrient for plants. Cobalt is necessary for nitrogen (N) fixation occurring within the nodules of legume plants.

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Copper

Copper (Cu) is one of eight essential plant micronutrients. When Cu is deficient, common crop responses to its application include reduced disease, increased crop growth and improved quality. Commonly applied Cu sources include fertilizer, animal manures, biosolids, and pesticides.

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Iron

Iron (Fe) is a component of many vital plant enzymes and is required for a wide range of biological functions. Most soils contain abundant Fe, but in forms that are low in solubility and sometimes not readily available for plant uptake.

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Magnesium

Magnesium (Mg) is one of nine macronutrients and is taken up by plants in quantities similar to that of phosphorus (P).

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Manganese

Manganese (Mn) is one of the 17 elements essential for plant growth and reproduction. It is needed in only small quantities by plants, but like other micronutrients Mn is ultimately as critical to plant growth as are the major nutrients.

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Molybdenum

Molybdenum (Mo) is a trace element required in very small mounts for the growth of both plants and animals. Crop deficiencies of Mo are fairly uncommon, but there are a variety of soil and foliar fertilizers that can be used to correct this condition when it occurs.

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Nickel

Nickel (Ni) is the most recent element to be added to the list of essential plant nutrients.

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Nitrogen

Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient because it is a part of the makeup of all plant and animal proteins. The nutritive value of the food we eat is largely dependent on having an adequate supply of N.

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Phosphorus

Phosphorus (P) is present in every living cell, both plant and animal. No other nutrient can be substituted for it when it is lacking. Phosphorus is one of the 17 essential nutrients that plants need for growth and reproduction.

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Potassium

Potassium (K) is an essential plant macronutrient taken up in large quantities, like nitrogen. In plants, K does not become part of complex organic molecules. It moves as a free ion and performs many functions.

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Selenium

Selenium (Se) is not essential for plants, but is required for many physiological functions in humans and animals. Since Se is obtained primarily from food, it’s accumulation by plants impacts human health.

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Silicon

Silicon (Si) is generally not considered an essential element for plant growth. However, due to its important role in plant nutrition, particularly under stressful conditions, it is now recognized as a “beneficial substance” or “quasi-essential.”

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Sulfur

In crop production, sulfur (S) is used by plants in sufficient quantities that it is considered the fourth most needed fertilizer nutrient after the three macronutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Sulfur fertilization is increasingly common because higher yielding crops are taking up and removing more S from soil as harvested products. Due to a decrease in S emissions from industrial and transportation sources, S deposition from the atmosphere is much lower than a few decades ago. Maintaining an adequate supply of S is essential for sustaining high-yielding crops, as well as for animal and human nutrition.

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Zinc

Although Zinc (Zn) is a trace element and only required in very small amounts in the plant, Zn deficiency in crops is widespread around the world. Low Zn content in food crops contributes to Zn deficiency in approximately 30% of human diets. With the world population continuing to expand, it is critical that attention be paid to Zn nutrition in food crop production.

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