There has been much talk this winter of Dr. Don Huber’s work on glyphosate induced micronutrient deficiency of crops. His work is even featured in this month’s issue of No-Till Magazine (Are We Shooting Ourselves In The Foot With A Silver Bullet?).
What is all the talk about and what does a farmer and an agronomist need to know?
I have distilled a 12 page a paper down to 3 paragraphs but highly encourage all to read the whole thing.
AG CHEMICAL AND CROP NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS – CURRENT UPDATE
Micronutrient deficiency symptoms are often indistinct (“hidden hunger”) and commonly ascribed to other causes such as drought, extreme temperatures, soil pH, etc. The sporadic nature of distinct visual symptoms, except under severe deficiency conditions, has resulted in a reluctance of many producers to remediate micronutrient deficiency. Lost yield, reduced quality, and increased disease are the unfortunate consequences of untreated micronutrient deficiency.
Glyphosate (N-(phosphomonomethyl)glycine) is a strong metal chelator and was first patented as such by Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1964 (U.S. Patent No. 3,160,632). Metal chelators are used extensively in agriculture to increase solubility or uptake of essential micronutrients that are essential for plant physiological processes. They are also used as herbicides and other biocides (nitrification inhibitors, fungicides, plant growth regulators, etc.) where they immobilize specific metal co-factors (Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Zn) essential for enzyme activity.
Gypsum applied in the seed row has shown some promise for detoxifying glyphosate from root exudates since Ca is a good chelator with glyphosate (one of the reasons that ammonium sulfate is recommended in spray solutions with hard water is to prevent chelation with Ca and Mg which would inhibit herbicidal activity). Although bioremediation of accumulating glyphosate in soil may be possible in the future, initial degradation products of glyphosate are toxic to both RR and non-RR plants.
Read the whole thing here