Combatting pests and diseases with balanced crop nutrition

Proper crop nutrition isn’t only essential to grow a strong, high-yielding crop. If your crop is experiencing nutrient deficiency (see how to identify micronutrient and macronutrient deficiencies), it is also more susceptible to disease and pest issues.

Research shows that “a balanced nutrient supply ensures optimal plant growth and is usually considered optimal for disease resistance as well. As a rule, plants with an optimal nutritional status have the higher resistance (tolerance) to pests and diseases compared to nutrient deficient plants.”[1]

Although different crops require varying amounts of fertilizer based on the soil, yield goals and environmental conditions, they all require the same fundamental nutrients as a baseline.

“In addition to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which plants take up from the surroundings via leaves and roots, there are 13 mineral nutrients that are essential for normal plant growth and development. These nutrients, their general relative abundance in plants, and their roles in plant biology are listed in the table below.” [1]

As you can see, basic NPK is not enough. Plants require all 13 of these different nutrients in adequate amounts to maximize yield potential, so unless a good available secondary and micronutrient source is supplied in your fertilizer, your crop may suffer. The best source for these nutrients is with a fertilizer that can give you uniform coverage in the fields like Rainbow Plant Food.

Rainbow Plant Food is a homogenous, granular fertilizer. Precise amounts of each nutrient – primary and secondary, as well as micronutrients – are chemically compounded to form a homogenous mixture. As a result, each granule contains nearly identical amounts of all the ingredients. Granules are uniform in size, shape and weight, so the fertilizer spreads evenly. Whether you broadcast or apply it in-row, every plant across the field will have the necessary nutrients available when it’s needed most.

Learn more about how crop nutrition deficiencies can increase pest issues over on Nutrien eKonomics.

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[1] Schumann, A., T. Vashisth, and T. Spann. 2010. "Mineral nutrition contributes to plant disease and pest resistance." University of Florida Extension Publication HS1181.