Encourage Zinc Uptake for Successful Post Emergence Crops

FBN Network

Jun 19, 2023

Zinc deficiency is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies in Canadian crops.

Vital for the formation of chlorophyll and carbohydrates in crops, zinc plays an important role in the movement of water in plants and aids in root development and starch formation. It is also essential in aiding the production of growth hormones such as Auxins. 

The total amount of zinc in your soil can be directly related to the parent material; for example, basalt soils can contain high levels of zinc, whereas sandy soils can be low in zinc. Zinc deficiencies can occur on a wide range of soils, from heavy alkaline clay soils to light sandy acidic soils. 

What Causes Zinc Deficiency?

Although zinc in organic matter is fairly immobile and very little is leached from the soil, it is often not found in a readily available form. Many factors can play a role in zinc availability for plant uptake, such as:

  • Organic Matter: Zinc can interact with soil organic matter by forming both insoluble and soluble zinc complexes. It can be mineralized and made available to plants from decomposing organic matter. 

  • Chelating Agents: The amount of chelating agents in the soil have a direct impact on the movement of zinc. Chelating agents increase the solubility of zinc from the soil and aid its movement to the roots of the plants.

  • Climatic Conditions: Microbiological activity encourages zinc to release from organic matter. Because waterlogging after a wet winter-spring season can lead to reduced microbiological activity, this kind of climate tends to increase the likelihood of zinc deficiency.

  • Water Tables: High water tables or soil compaction can affect plant root development. This can directly affect the dispersion of zinc in the soil, leading to zinc deficiency.

  • Iron: High levels of available iron can adversely affect the plant's ability to take up zinc. 

  • Phosphorus: By affecting the physiological availability of zinc in plant tissues, incorrect phosphorus fertilizer application may induce zinc deficiency. Soils high in phosphorus can reduce the Vesicular arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM) colonization of plant roots.

How to Identify Zinc Deficiency

Symptoms of zinc deficiency can include:

  • Brown or yellow patches on the new growth

  • Patchy appearance of the crop

  • Brown necrotic spots on the leaves

  • Poor seed set – young tillers may die before setting seed

  • Poor yield/low protein

How to Treat Zinc Deficiency in Crops

Best results occur when foliar zinc sprays are applied before symptoms of deficiency are noticeable. The spray should be applied regularly in small amounts early in the morning or early evening to reduce evaporation and maximize the intake of zinc into the plant.

ProZinc 8% is a fully chelated form of zinc, making it both more efficient and effective to use. It mixes well with a wide range of liquid fertilizers, humates and chemicals.

Zinc toxicity is uncommon and is more likely to occur in acid soils. High levels of zinc can inhibit a plant's ability to uptake P and Fe. 


Rate L/Ha


Water L/Ha


0.5 - 2.5

3-5 leaf stage



0.5 - 2.5

4-9 True leaves



0.5 - 2.5

10-14 days before flowering, sooner if a deficiency is known.



0.5 - 2.5

Good leaf cover



1 - 2.5

Prior to flowering



1 - 3

Flower bud visible & flower bud separated.



2 - 4

Spring, Summer, Fall


2 - 5

Soil application

Zinc Products from FBN Direct®

Double down on savings and convenience with direct-to-farm delivery from FBN Direct. Find ProZinc 8% and other helpful products you need for your operation by clicking here.

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FBN Network

Jun 19, 2023