Managing micronutrients for improving soil fertility, health, and soybean yield

Sushil Thapa, Ammar Bhandari, Rajan Ghimire, Qingwu Xue, Fanson Kidwaro, Shirin Ghatrehsamani, Bijesh Maharjan, Mark Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Plants need only a small quantity of micronutrients, but they are essential for vital cell functions. Critical micronutrients for plant growth and development include iron (Fe), boron (B), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl), and nickel (Ni). The deficiency of one or more micronutrients can greatly affect plant production and quality. To explore the potential for using micronutrients, we reviewed the literature evaluating the effect of micronutrients on soybean production in the U.S. Midwest and beyond. Soil and foliar applications were the major micronutrient application methods. Overall, studies indicated the positive yield response of soybean to micronutrients. However, soybean yield response to micronutrients was not consistent among studies, mainly because of different environmental conditions such as soil type, soil organic matter (SOM), moisture, and temperature. Despite this inconsistency, there has been increased pressure for growers to apply micronutrients to soybeans due to a fact that deficiencies have increased with the increased use of high-yielding cultivars. Further studies on quantification and variable rate application of micronutrients under different soil and environmental conditions are warranted to acquire more knowledge and improve the micronutrient management strategies in soybean. Since the SOM could meet the micronutrient need of many crops, management strategies that increase SOM should be encouraged to ensure nutrient availability and improve soil fertility and health for sustainable soybean production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11766
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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