Foliar fertilizers rarely increase yield in United States soybean

Emma G. Matcham, R. Atwell Vann, Laura E. Lindsey, John M. Gaska, Dylan T. Lilley, W. Jeremy Ross, David L. Wright, Carrie Knott, Chad D. Lee, David Moseley, Maninder Singh, Seth Naeve, J. Trenton Irby, William Wiebold, Hans Kandel, Josh Lofton, Matthew Inman, Jonathon Kleinjan, David L. Holshouser, Shawn P. Conley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Farmers have been interested in using foliar-applied nutrient products to increase soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] yield since at least the 1970s, despite limited evidence that these products offer consistent yield increases when used prophylactically. Recently, interest in foliar fertilizer products for soybean production has been renewed, likely related to elevated soybean prices. Over the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons (46 site-years), agronomists in 16 states collaborated to test six foliar nutrient treatments (commercial mixtures of macro- and micro-nutrients) on soybean grain yield and composition. Soybean grain yield and composition differed among sites but not among foliar fertilizer treatments. Results show that prophylactic foliar fertilization is likely to decrease the profitability of soybean production. Foliar fertilizer products tested in this study and similar products should not be recommended to U.S. soybean farmers in the absence of visual symptoms of nutrient deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5246-5253
Number of pages8
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by Soybean Checkoff funds through the Qualified State Soybean Board in each state. Additional support was provided by the United Soybean Board through the Science For Success initiative.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Agronomy Journal published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Agronomy


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