By Larry Aylward, Meister Media Worldwide

Is Zinc underrated in the quest for top crop performance? If it is, it shouldn’t be, says Michael Ruttan, Nutrient TECH’s Territory Sales Manager for the Pacific Northwest. In fact, Ruttan contends that Zinc is crucial for crop efficiency year-round.

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium may attract more attention when the topic is plant health, especially considering they are the agriculture industry’s top macronutrients. But they would not be as important in crop health if it were not for a slew of micronutrients, including Zinc, says Ruttan, an expert on foliar nutrient fertilizers for use on tree, vine, field, and row crops.

“I don’t think we talk about Zinc or the other micronutrients enough in the way that Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are utilized,” says Ruttan, a Pest Control Advisor who has worked in crop and soil science for more than 20 years. “Zinc and other micronutrients are what drive the utilization of all the macronutrients. Without micronutrients, nothing happens. They are essential.”

Ruttan says Zinc is critical for all 6 classes of plant enzyme function. It is also required for plant hormone production and carbohydrate metabolism. In addition, it has a significant impact on photosynthesis. “Zinc impacts the canopy size and leaf size of the crop,” Ruttan says. “Leaf size plays a significant role in how much sunlight plants can convert into carbohydrates to grow. The larger the leaf surface, the better Chlorophyll concentration plants have to grow to produce a crop that provides an economic return.”

One of the symptoms of low Zinc levels is Leaf Chlorosis, which causes a variation in color intensity in leaves, from pale green to white, Ruttan says. But Nutrient TECH has a longstanding product that can correct Leaf Chlorosis and more. Nutrient TECH’s Zeta Zinc 22% is effective at influencing Zinc levels in plant tissues, especially on crops chronically low in Zinc or unresponsive to other forms of Zinc. Zeta Zinc 22%, which has been used by growers for more than 30 years, can be applied on field, row, and vegetable crops as well as tree and vine crops. Zeta Zinc 22% can influence bud vigor, fruit set, return bloom, yield consistency, and stem elongation. It also improves winter hardiness and promotes seed maturity.

A Noticeable Difference

Zeta Zinc 22% is fueled by Nutrient TECH’s proprietary suspension technology, SimplyFLO, which enhances nutrient delivery by allowing for better dispersion and nutrient absorption. Growers can safely use up to 4 quarts of Zeta Zinc 22% per acre to make a noticeable difference in their crops, according to Nutrient TECH. There are factors that can influence a plant’s ability to take up Zinc as needed, Ruttan says. It might be as simple as plant species, soil type, high soil pH, and overall plant stress. But because of SimplyFLO, Zeta Zinc 22% does a better job of getting Zinc to where it is needed.

“SimplyFLO is formulated to make products easy to handle and combine in a tank mix to provide safe, effective delivery of the nutrients to the plant tissues, and to move those nutrients into the plant for utilization,” Ruttan says.

Nutrient TECH has conducted field trials with Zeta Zinc 22% over the years on several crops, comparing it to other Zinc products on the market, including Zinc Sulfate, a common source of Zinc used in agriculture. In one trial to address Zinc deficiency in apples during delayed dormancy, 5 gallons of 12% Zinc Sulfate was applied to one set of apple trees and 2 quarts of Zeta Zinc 22% was applied to another set of trees.

“The 2 quarts of Zeta Zinc 22% equates to 1.32 pounds of actual Zinc,” Ruttan says. “There was significantly more Zinc applied in the 5 gallons of 12% Zinc Sulfate than in the 2 quarts of Zeta Zinc 22%.” But the Zeta Zinc 22% provided better Zinc levels in season compared to the 5 gallons of 12% Zinc Sulfate, the study concluded. Zeta Zinc 22% also performs at a higher level than other products when used at lower rates, Ruttan says. Zeta Zinc 22% provides a high concentration of Zinc in a safe and effective form and without phytotoxicity concerns. It also provides broad-spectrum tank mix compatibility, even with oils.

Consistent Throughout the Year

If Zinc is underestimated, it is for not being regarded as a go-to micronutrient throughout the year, says Ruttan, who stresses that Zinc is important for all stages of crop development – reproduction, early growth, and maturation. Ruttan says many growers that use Zeta Zinc 22% tout the product’s consistency – that they see results year after year that they haven’t seen from other Zinc products.

There are reasons Zeta Zinc 22% has been around for so long.