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Plant tissue test for accurate nutrient status

June 29, 2020

Identifying and correcting trace element deficiencies is just one of many reasons to undertake plant tissue testing this growing season.

APAL’s plant tissue testing service can help growers and agronomists diagnose micronutrient deficiencies to help optimise plant health and yield this season.

Our rapid three-day turnaround on tissue testing maximises opportunities for rapid agronomic response to address deficiencies or imbalances.

Plant tissue testing is a cost-effective and strategic monitoring tool for maintaining plant health and optimising crop production. An essential part of the process is diagnosing and correcting existing nutrient problems.

Crops require more than 16 essential nutrients to help them grow to their full potential. Among these are micronutrients including zinc, copper, manganese and boron.

There are a number of other benefits in plant tissue testing. These include:

  • Monitoring crop nutrient status for optimal crop production
  • Ensuring balanced plant nutrient levels for top produce quality
  • Predicting plant nutrient problems during the growing season to avoid production loss
  • Understanding interactions between the soil and plant nutrient uptake
  • Formulating foliar spray programs to address nutrient deficiencies and imbalances
  • Determining the uptake of applied nutrients by the plant
  • Providing a guide to animal health problems

Read more about micronutrient deficiencies on the GRDC Communities website.

Download a presentation from Dr Robert Norton on the importance of plant tissue testing.

Tips for plant sampling

In order to get the most out of plant tissue testing, APAL has these tips for sampling.

  • Sample the correct part of the plant at the correct growth stage
  • Always wear gloves to avoid contamination
  • Regular tests build a better nutrient profile
  • Be consistent in obtaining your representative sample: sample plants of similar vigour, variety, size and age
  • Sample early in the week. If storing samples over the weekend, dry or refrigerate them
  • Use stainless steel cutting implements

Visit the plant sampling instructions page for more plant tissue testing tips.

Tissue testing research

APAL is collaborating with Agronomy Solutions, CropFacts P/L, CSIRO, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Hart Field Site Group and AgCommunicators on a Grains Research and Development Corporation investment, Using soil and plant testing data to better inform nutrient management and optimise fertiliser investments for grain growers in the southern region.

The project aims to improve nutrient management best practice through the increased use of soil and plant testing.

It is expected to provide grain growers in the southern cropping region with the confidence, knowledge and ability to make more effective and profitable nutrient management decisions.

Read more about the project on the GRDC website.