Category Archives: fertilizer

Leaf Illustrations and Charts to Help Diagnose Plant Nutrient Deficiencies

For the farmer or gardener, it is important to be able to read your plant. The seasoned grower develops an intuitive sense over time in response to plant signals of stress. The key is observing and being able to notice unhealthy leaves, and developing the ability to understand what the plant’s leaf is telling you. Something to note is that a young leaf’s message differs from an old leaf’s message. In this post, I have assembled a number of good graphics to help you do just that. While there is some overlap between the illustrations, they should be helpful as a whole in helping you figure out your specific problem.

PLANT LEAF CHART OF NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES


Credit: Twitter @FarmerRaviVKV “Plants speak to us through their leaves what they want. Farmers must keenly understand the language of his plants.”


DIAGNOSING NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES CHART


Credit: Twitter @trouttroller Day 2 of #canoLAB14. John Mayko with a great slide depicting location of nutrient deficiency symptoms.


SIMPLE PLANT DEFICIENCY GUIDE


Credit: Twitter @JSKProperty. Plant deficiency guide – Some possible problems because of nutrient deficiency or even too much of any one nutrient.


CORN LEAF NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY ILLUSTRATION


Credit: farmwifediary.blogspot


CHART OF NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS IN PLANTS



Credit: Atlantis Hydroponics.
For more charts showing the inter-relationships between nutrients (excess-induced deficiencies) see this PDF, also from Atlantis Hydroponics.


LEAF DEFICIENCY GUIDE (MAPLE LEAVES)





Credit: CANNA.


NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY FLOWCHART – OLD AND NEW LEAVES – CHLOROSIS AND NECROSIS


Credit: UNKNOWN


NUTRIENT ANTAGONISMS CHART


Credit: UNKNOWN


NUTRIENT DISORDERS MARIJUANA LEAVES



Credit: mjforum


DEFICIENCIES AND ABUNDANCE OF FERTILIZATION ELEMENTS (MARIJUANA LEAVES)



Credit: OCK.PEACE.ORG


NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS – Citrus


Credit: Twitter @247Garden. Nutrient deficiency symptoms at a glance! #growing #gardening #hydroponics #green Courtesy of NATESC and IPCC.


AQUATIC PLANTS – LEAF NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY


Credit: Zapins at Aquatic Plant Central. Plant Deficiency Picture Diagram for aquatic plants.


CHART EXPLAINING LEAF NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY


Credit: Hawaii.edu. Plant Nutritional Deficiencies Symptoms chart.


If you have any links to other great graphics on this subject, please leave them in the comments.

EPA: Agricultural Nitrogen and Phosphorus is Reason for Gulf Dead Zone

The EPA’s recent report about hypoxia in the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico is very damaging for agriculture. They tell us that eliminating the pollution-caused hypoxia would require large shifts in food production and agricultural management.

As shown in the above graphic, they have determined that 71 percent of nitrogen released into the Gulf is from agriculture, and 80 percent of phosphorus is from agriculture. Furthermore, the states that contribute the most to the farmland induced nutrient pollution of the rivers and gulf are reluctant and resistant to inducing any changes which would reduce the farm runoffs, though they have been asked to do so.

Sadly, runoff of these nutrients also translates to loss of our precious topsoil resource in our nation, something every citizen should feel responsible to defend politically. Soil runoff threatens future farmland productivity.

Right policy could reduce farm nutrient runoff, and the biggest culprit right now is the Renewable Fuels Standard, which requires us to grow millions upon millions of acres more corn than we need. Which means the EPA’s plea to reduce the Dead Zone makes no sense because they are also the ones who set the RFS mandated use of corn ethanol. Does their right hand know what their left hand is doing?


source: www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2014/20140902-14-P-0348.pdf

Unfarming: The Way to Win a Million Dollars


Above: May 2011 flood on the Mississippi River. USDA Photo.

A little while back there was an announcement that anyone who could solve the world’s dead zone problems like we have in the Gulf of Mexico here in the U.S., could win a million dollars. Instantly, I thought my ship had come in, because I knew the answers to the challenge right off the top of my head. It would take me five minutes to do an outline, an hour to write it up, then, bang, a million bucks and I’ve bought my way into New Zealand. But then I caught the clincher “solutions must meet a suite of simultaneous and sometimes conflicting needs – from protecting water resources and near-shore ecosystems to ensuring the capacity and vitality of agricultural productivity” — at which point I gave up without trying. Appropriately, the contest comes out of Tulane University, based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

For starters, how I’d love to see a minimum natural area bordering all waterways, scaled to the size of the waterway. But, why is it that when something makes such obvious sense, then, it just cannot happen? Look at this from George Monbiot excerpted from his lengthy rant against corporate agriculture yesterday over at The Guardian:

We should turn the rivers flowing into the lowlands into “blue belts” or “wild ways”. For 50 metres on either side, the land would be left unfarmed, allowing trees and bogs to return and creating continuous wildlife corridors. Bogs and forests trap the floodwaters, helping to protect the towns downstream. They catch the soil washing off the fields and filter out some of the chemicals which would otherwise find their way into the rivers. A few of us are now in the process of setting up a rewilding group in Britain, which would seek to catalyse some of these changes.

Fifty metres is only 164 feet. Along the mighty Mississippi, we should have at least 2-5 miles of natural forest and prairie land — so George is being really conservative in his baby step plan.

There is good news today in industrial farming practices as they relate to the Dead Zone. There is less overuse of fertilizers, and precision agriculture and cover crops are helping.

But we need a wiser long-term vision, a vision which would bring back a healthy biodiversity to the Midwest. I’d like a lot of shelter belts to return to farming areas, “agroforestry” if you will; and, wildlife corridors which would run up and down the former prairie lands which would be available to the public for enjoyment and help to attract a vibrant younger population back to the Midwest; and let’s throw in a minimum percentage of taxpayer-funded natural land, or buffer strips, on every farm, too. By removing tiling from beneath buffer strips, those areas could actually catch fertilizer run-off. Finally, we could turn more of corn country into grasslands on which to raise large herbivores, and other livestock. All of these things could really help to reduce the Dead Zone… but what will NOT reduce the Dead Zone is the monoculture crop status quo.

The U.S. Midwestern industrial agriculture farmer ails economically today from the monoculture commodity oversupply problem. We have not gained export market share of our major three commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat) in fourteen years (see graph). This land which is polluting the Dead Zone due to fertilizer runoff is not, unfortunately, feeding the world. No, it is feeding our cars and the end-points of crony capitalism.

Are these things feasible? Yes, anything is feasible given the right policy support… over time.

Unfarming. Now that’s a word for this century.

3 Picks: Netherlands Lab Burger, Biofuels Exports, Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria


Photo credit: Maastricht University

Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.

1) Scientists cook world’s first in-vitro beef burger today: From Kate Kelland, “A corner of west London will see culinary and scientific history made on Monday when scientists cook and serve up the world’s first lab-grown beef burger. The in-vitro burger, cultured from cattle stem cells, the first example of what its creator says could provide an answer to global food shortages and help combat climate change, will be fried in a pan and tasted by two volunteers….”

2) Ethanol and Biodiesel Export Amounts Update: Nick Paulson at the Univ. of Illinois shows us graphs of the past several years in export amounts of biodiesel and ethanol. “The continually increasing biofuel mandate volumes along with the challenges introduced by the E-10 blend wall are making it more difficult for obligated parties to comply with the RFS. This has been reflected by the significant increase in RIN values since early in 2012. Yet, the U.S. continues to export both ethanol and biodiesel.”

3) The University of Nottingham is promoting a new technology which they say could enable the world’s crops to take nitrogen from the air rather than expensive and environmentally damaging fertilisers: “Professor Edward Cocking, director of the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Crop Nitrogen Fixation, has developed a unique method of putting nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the cells of plant roots. His major breakthrough came when he found a specific strain of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in sugar cane which he discovered could intracellularly colonize all major crop plants. This groundbreaking development potentially provides every cell in the plant with the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. … It is anticipated that the N-Fix technology will be commercially available within the next two to three years.”

This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.

The USDA’s Latest Report on Energy Use in Agriculture

It has been just shy of two years since the USDA came out with its last report on energy use in agriculture. The title of this month’s new report is, “Agriculture’s Supply and Demand for Energy and Energy Products.” This time they presented the subject by saying that energy inputs no longer have a linear relationship with agriculture since commodities are now used for the production of biofuels, and that farmers adapt in other ways to rising energy costs.

The agriculture sector in the U.S. uses less than 2 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. However, energy and energy-intensive inputs account for a significant share of agricultural production costs. For example, corn, sorghum, and rice farmers allocated over 30 percent of total production expenditures on energy inputs in 2011.

From 2001 through 2011, direct energy use accounted for 63 percent of agricultural energy consumption, compared with 37 percent for indirect use, as shown in the graph below.

Direct energy uses in farming include diesel and gasoline fuels to run machinery to plant, till, and harvest; to dry crops; for livestock use; and to transport goods. As shown in the graph, less fuel was used in 2011, when prices were higher. Electricity is used to heat and cool livestock and dairy operations, and for pump irrigation. Its use has remained relatively constant, along with its price during this time period.

Indirect uses of energy on U.S. farms include energy-intensive inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.

The following graph shows shows a breakdown of the energy components, both direct and indirect, used in farming from 2001 to 2011.

Since 2006, the USDA has been doing surveys to find out how farmers are responding to higher prices for fuel and fertilizer. Farmers have responded to higher prices by changing production practices which increase efficient use of energy. The next graphs show us how farmers responded to higher prices in the year 2006.

Conclusion
The energy costs of industrial agriculture may pit farming methods against each other in the future. Because there are so many components within the system, and so many crop choices, gradually the waste in the system will be worked out and more efficient machinery and methods will be adopted. For some production, labor may again be substituted for fossil fuels. But, I’d also expect that the government will subsidize agricultural energy inputs in one way or another, given some future point in time when energy is more expensive. In many ways these costs are already being subsidized or supported through policy.