Closeup of a soybean seedling

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association)

Foliar nutrients trial summary

March 23, 2021

The concept of foliar feeding has been around for many years. The idea is that applying water-based fertilizers to the leaves of plants can enhance their nutritional status during the season. Typically done as a supplement to soil-applied fertilizer, nutrients from foliar feeding enter the plant through the leaves.

Some say foliar feeding is more efficient and demonstrates a quicker response time. However, based on research that others have done, we know that crops respond differently to foliar feeding; some crops lend themselves to foliar feeding better than others.

In the 2020 season we tested out some foliar nutrient applications, primarily of foliar applied zinc on corn, though we had a couple of copper trials on soybeans as well. Zinc can be a limiting nutrient, so the idea was to supplement during the season and monitor the impact on crop health and yield.

Foliar copper has been shown to improve disease control in soybeans, especially when combined with a fungicide.

In this video we show the considerations related to foliar feeding and the outcomes of our field trials.


 A summary of 2020 foliar fertilizer trials featuring zinc on corn and copper on soybeans.