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  • Writer's picturePhilip

2.5 Billion.

Today, some countries are just short of food whilst in others food quality is equally or more important. “The Royal Society,” a Fellowship of many of the world's most eminent scientists and the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence; has commented about (food quality) the mineral content of plants that enter the food chain. “It is important for the health of people and animals that they get sufficient minerals from their diets. For example, about 2.5 billion people are deficient in zinc. To address this we can either add zinc to fertiliser to make sure the plants that people eat have enough zinc in them or breed new varieties of plants that have a higher zinc concentration.”

Therefore using zinc containing seed dressings this autumn must be the right thing to do especially since they are an aid to Oilseed rape establishment!

Maize, beans and onions appear to have the greater demand, then its potatoes and soya and those with the least demand barley, clovers, grassland, oat, oilseed rape, peas, sugar beet, sunflower and wheat.

Reading through the science...

Zinc uptake by bean plants (a high demand crop) from zinc materials applied to the seed coat was evaluated as a substitute for zinc fertiliser and as a means of eliminating temporary early season zinc deficiency which commonly occurs in zinc deficient soils even after fields have received zinc fertiliser.

Zinc seed treatment was not an effective substitute for zinc fertiliser, since zinc uptake was insufficient to meet plant needs beyond the three-compound-leaf stage of growth.

When used in conjunction with zinc fertiliser, zinc seed treatment completely eliminated the temporary deficiency which occurred when beans received only a 11.2 kg Zn/ha as a soil application.

However, no significant yield increase or hastened maturity occurred as a result of elimination of these early season zinc deficiency symptoms.

Wheat crops (low demand.)

Soil application of zinc was economical and had long term effects for enhancing grain yield of wheat grown on zinc deficient soils. When high grain yield and high zinc concentration in grains are desired, soil and leaf application of zinc were the most effective methods of zinc application.

Zinc deficient soils in England?

AHDB: UK cereals on specific soil types may be deficient in sulphur and very rarely, zinc.

Visual Symptoms: Extremely rare.

Soil treatment: Possible but not normally advised.

Risk, soil type and effects: Deficiency has only been found on a very few barley crops grown on sandy soils with high pH and P status in N. Ireland and Scotland.

Interesting Facts.

Zinc is an essential mineral for human health. It is the second-most abundant metal in the body, after iron. The mineral is important for immune function, white blood cell formation and a host of other enzymatic reactions. Zinc deficiency may also be a causal factor in age-related vision deterioration. Foods rich in zinc include lean meat and seafood. Oysters are particularly rich in zinc.


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