Key Lessons from Boron Day 2021

:: Tuesday, November 9, 2021 :: Posted By Fabiano Silvestrin

Since 2016, Boron Day has brought together the world’s leading experts on borates in agriculture—delivering relevant research on the importance and various applications of boron for the health, physiological development, and resiliency of crops.

Held August 17-19 this year, Boron Day offered a virtual education to more than 4,500 people from 31 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Italy, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the United States.

If you missed the event, you can still watch the recorded presentations:

Boron: The soybean productivity solution

Dr. Evandro Binotto Fagan, University Unipam, Brazil, discussed plant production physiology and the role that boron plays in plant nutrition as well as the effects nutrients have on plant biostimulation in soybeans.

“We have not reached plant productivity potential (in soybeans) because plants lose production when they compete with weeds and pests, and even worse are the factors that relate to the soil. Fertility, chemical, physical and biological are all affected by the (warmer soils), lack of rainfall, excess rainfall, and nutritional issues,” Fagan says.

U.S. Borax resource:

Foliar application success

Dr. Victoria Fernandez, University of Madrid, Spain, shared her team’s research on the efficacy of boron delivered via foliar application and further insights on the application method.

U.S. Borax resources:

New findings on phloem mobility of boron in plants

Boron is the only nutrient where phloem mobility varies depending on plant species. While it has been generally accepted that boron is phloem-immobile in most plants, important advancements have been made in recent years to indicate that polyol rich species are, in fact, phloem mobile. This finding was further explored by Dr. Patrick Brown, University of California, Davis.

Brown reviewed significant economical effects of boron deficiency. His team are also investigating those species which contain a sugar form that binds and transports boron. Their research seeks to learn more about the phloem immobility of boron, as well as develop management opportunities to improve boron phloem mobility across species.

“There’s a number of species that utilize phloem alcohols,” Brown says. “We predicted that species that have large concentrations of sorbitol complex in the phloem sack would have phloem mobility.”

U.S. Borax resources:

Boron in agriculture

A presentation by Dr. Godofredo Vitti, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, that provided insights on the sources and dynamics of boron in soil and their effects on production agriculture. He discusses new information on the relationships boron has within the soil as well as with other micronutrients.

Benefits of boron in winter crops

Dr. Gabriel Barth, ABC Foundation, Brazil, discussed the importance of boron in winter cereal crops and the lab results his team saw in comparison tests between Granubor® and colmanite.

Barth showed participants the results of a canola study that looked at the effect of several nutrients, including boron, on the crop’s yield. He also shared that barley can also benefit from timely boron application.

“In a 2018 winter barley crop, and again this year, we have already come across some good results,” Barth says. “Boron was applied before planting, when we were going to evaluate the leaf with a linear dose increase that was directly proportional to the applied boron doses and it showed that the plant was able to absorb this nutrient (boron).”

Continuing the discussion of boron’s role in soybeans and other winter crops, Physioatac Consulting’s Gabriel Schaich’s presentation focused on highlighting the different uses of boron within crop rotations.

“The greatest demand for boron in wheat crops occurs in the early stages of crop development (pre-anthesis),” Schaich shared with viewers. “In soybeans, the greatest demand for boron also occurs in the initial stages of the initial development of the crop, between stages v6 - v8.”

The team has also worked to find the cause-and-effect relationship between plant temperature and hormones and boron. They are investigating the indirect relationships between boron and the fixation of nitrogen gas.

U.S. Borax resources:

Benefits of boron in citrus

Dr. Rodrigo Boaretto of the Instituto Agronômico de Campinas discussed the benefits of boron in citrus, and showed the different responses in citrus rootstock to boron and looked at the different micronutrient application methods and their efficacy. In the team’s research, more than 5,000 samples are collected from commercial growers, annually. The sample represents around 15% of Brazil’s citrus belt and 60,000 hectares of orange production.

“We looked at those samples with low levels of boron and we observed that the average is between 8% and 10% -- in drier years it increases and in rainy years it decreases, but on average, we think that around 10% of the areas are low on boron,” Boaretto said.

U.S. Borax resource

Benefits of boron in soybeans and corn

Dr. Douglas Gitti, Fundação MS, discussed his research into soil type and boron effectiveness.

“In clayey textured soils there was no response for splitting boron doses, whereas in sandy soils there was a good response for splitting boron doses, applying 50% of B before planting soybeans and 50% before planting corn second crop,” Gitti said.

U.S. Borax resources:

Benefits of born in cotton

Dr. Fabio R. Echer from Unoeste University presented on cotton in tropical soils.

“Overall, there is a widespread boron deficiency in tropical soils around the world,” Echer said. “Sixty percent of boron absorption in cotton occurs during flowering, with maximum absorption being 120 days after emergence.”

U.S. Borax resource:

Boron’s role in sugar cane production

Dr. Carlos Crusciol, FCA/UNESP, presented his findings on the benefits and requirements of boron in sugar cane. He noted that sugar cane has a very large initial demand for boron between 90 and 100 days. Following the initial demand, higher levels of the micronutrient will also be required through the tillering stage and again to initiate the maturation process.

Crusciol also cited a citrus study, which directly corresponded to sugar cane production. It found that increasing potassium content in the leaf decreases boron availability and absorption.

U.S. Borax resources:

Boron in oil palm and coconut palm

Boron deficiency in palm and the limitations these tropical plants face due to their growing soils was covered by Dr. Jamison Moura, agronomy consultant.

Key education in Moura’s presentation focused on the importance of boron in roots and the detriment a lack of the micronutrient presents not only for the plant itself, but also for the seeds of the plant.

U.S. Borax resources:

Benefits of boron in coffee

Agronomist and coffee consultant João Romero discussed how boron is one of his primary concerns in coffee crops and how it can often be confused with disease.

“Small coffee varieties have a greater demand for B, when compared to tall varieties,” Romero stated. “Excess of nitrogen and potash in the soil can inhibit the absorption of B.”

U.S. Borax resources:

Overall, Boron Day supplies growers and agronomists with the latest information they need to prevent boron deficiency in their crops. U.S. Borax was a diamond sponsor of this event. For more information about boron deficiency in your crops, contact your local U.S. Borax expert.


 boron basics

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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