Manganese-based foliar fertilizers increased yields in soybean research in Michigan’s Thumb

Michigan State University Extension educators studied the effects of foliar fertilizer on soybeans. In manganese deficient soybeans, yields increased. In non-deficient soybeans, there was no difference in yield.

MSU Extension field crops educators in the Thumb and Saginaw Valley studied foliar fertilizers. This study was established at three sites, including sites near Sandusky, Almont, and Pigeon, Mich. The variety at the Pigeon site was NK S19-A6; the variety at the other two sites was Pioneer 92Y51. Soybean stand counts were taken in August, 2011. The average stand count was 132,800 plants per acre.

Three products, Max-In ZMB (containing Zinc, Manganese, and Boron), Max-In Mn (containing manganese), and Max-In S (containing sulfur) were applied to soybeans at the R3 growth stage. An untreated check (UTC) was also included. All products were applied at labeled rates, or 2 qts./A.

Results are listed by individual location and with the three sites averaged together in the following table.

Treatment Sandusky Almont Pigeon Average Yield (bu./a.) Sig
Max-In ZMB 45.4 59.2 61.5 55.4 a
Max-In Mn 46.6 55.8 61.2 54.5 ab
Max-In S 40.5 58.4 60.1 53.0 bc
UTC 38.9 57.8 61.5 52.7 c
Average 42.8 57.8  61.1 53.9
LSD @ 0.05

C.V. %


The two products containing manganese, Max-In ZMB and Max-In Mn, resulted in yields statistically greater than the untreated check. The Max-In S treated soybeans yielded statistically similar to the untreated check, when all three sites were averaged together.

The differences are most apparent at the Sandusky site. Soybeans at the Sandusky site were showing signs of manganese deficiency at the time of application. The soybeans at the Pigeon site, where the results were most similar, were showing the best growth during the entire season.

This project was made possible with funding from the Michigan Soybean Checkoff program.

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