The Importance of Nitrogen for Healthy, High-Yielding Crops

Nitrogen is one of three macronutrients, or primary nutrients, required for healthy plants, the other two being Phosphorus and Potassium. (Of course, there are many other nutrients essential for plant health, but required in smaller amounts). Plants use large amounts of Nitrogen for development and reproduction and a deficiency will present itself with obvious symptoms. 

Nitrogen has numerous roles, including increasing protein content and producing chlorophyll used in photosynthesis. Without proteins, plants will wither and die. Without chlorophyll, plants are unable to photosynthesise and create starches and sugars used for food.

There is a delicate balance at play in the Nitrogen cycle and maintaining and nurturing this cycle is vital for sustainable farming.  Too little Nitrogen and plant growth will be negatively affected, too much Nitrogen and plants produce excess biomass, such as stalks and leaves, at the expense of flowering and fruit.  In addition, excess Nitrogen can leach into waterways causing eutrophication, and runoff into drinking water can pose serious problems for human health.

Recognising Nitrogen Deficiencies

Nitrogen deficiency may present with the following symptoms:

  • Yellowing leaves (chlorosis) – first at leaf tips, then across all leaves
  • Slow, small growth
  • Nitrogen is very mobile, transporting itself through the plant. Generally, older leaves will show yellowing first when there is a deficiency as the Nitrogen moves to the newer growth.

Nitrogen deficiency is common in sandy, well-drained, fast leaching soils and over watering and excess rain will also have an impact on Nitrogen levels. However, there are myriad reasons for why your crops may not be getting the nitrogen they need including drought conditions, pH too high or too low and low organic matter in the soil, which is often completely overlooked.

Choosing the right Organic Nitrogen Input

It is extremely concerning that, globally, 80%1. of Nitrogen fertilisers are lost each year to the environment, leaching into waterways, drinking-water sources and emitted into the air.

As a grower you will be looking for a product that is easy to apply, fast-acting and readily absorbed by your crops as well as positively impacting the environment and sustainable farming goals.  Economy is also an important part of the equation and it is easy to get blind-sided by the seemingly cheap Nitrogen products on the market.  However, sometimes ‘cheap’ just means low quality and if the product does not deliver, ultimately it can end up costing you more in the long run.

Many of the commonly used organic nitrogen fertilisers contain very low levels of N, between 2-9%. At low levels, the organisms in the soil may consume all the available nitrogen immediately, leaving none for the plants!  These mainly fish fertilisers may not be 100% water soluble and clog spray nozzles, have a strong odour and are often very high in salt.  

Whilst they seem an economical option for growers, how much Nitrogen is actually getting to where it needs to be, and how many applications do you need to make?

At Roots, Shoots & Fruits, our Biomin Nitrogen is a highly bio-available, non-fish Nitrogen fertiliser that is water soluble and designed for soil and/or foliar applications.  It contains 14% organic Nitrogen and 85.5% Organic Matter.

The L-Amino Acids in Biomin Nitrogen chelate minerals to ensure a high absorption rate and reduction of leaching. L-Amino acids are crucial to the health of your crops, helping with, but not limited to:

  • Protein biosynthesis
  • Stress resistance
  • Photosynthesis
  • Pollination and fruit formation
  • Soil flora 

Nitrogen from Biomin N is absorbed by plants quickly and is then translocated, saving the plant biochemical energy needed for growth. This is in comparison to other Nitrogen inputs which mostly go through multiple conversions before being available in a form the plant can recognise and utilise.

Maintaining levels of trace elements and Nitrogen 

Maintaining levels of both micro and macronutrients is critical to ensure longevity in both production and yield, and to maintain the health of your plants and soil for the long term.

Biomin Booster is an amino acid chelated multi-mineral which contains all the essential trace elements required for productivity.  It also contains sufficient levels of Nitrogen to maintain that delicate Nitrogen cycle without the issues of leaching and possible contamination of waterways. 

When N deficiency becomes a problem and must be addressed, Biomin Nitrogen is compatible with Biomin Booster and together will ensure any issues are quickly remedied.

To learn more about Biomin Nitrogen and Biomin Booster, click here: 

1.Frontiers1819_ch4  https://www.unep.org/interactives/beat-nitrogen-pollution/#section

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