Sugar cane

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Boron Deficiency in Sugar Cane

Although boron is essential to the health and quality of sugar cane, it’s often the most deficient micronutrient in sugar cane plantations. Boron plays a crucial role in a number of vital processes and is highly important for sugar cane yield.

Fertilizing sugar cane plants with adequate boron is necessary for:

  • Synthesis of nucleic acids
  • Metabolism of carbohydrates
  • Formation of cell walls
  • Transportation of sugars through the cell membranes
  • Cell division
  • Proper development of leaves

The first symptoms of boron deficiency appear as small, narrow watery spots developing parallel to the vascular bundles on the young leaves, resulting in a distinct striping. The lesions soon enlarge and the leaf tissue may later separate, forming a fracture with a serrated inner edge. Sugar cane leaf tips can become necrotic, apical growth is retarded, and the young leaves are small, narrow and somewhat chlorotic. Internal brownish streaks frequently develop at, and slightly below, the growing point. Young sugar cane plants are bunched with many secondary stalks. The spindle leaves turn white and dry out.

Note that “pokkah boeng,” a disease caused by Fusarium monoliforma and injury from the herbicide Dalapon, can cause symptoms similar to boron deficiency.

Spotting Boron Deficiency in Sugar Cane

Region of Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

How much boron is enough?

Sugar cane plants remove significant amounts of boron from the soil each year. Once a plant shows signs of boron deficiency it cannot fully recover. Always consult your local department of agriculture to check the proper fertilizer dose rates.

Rates of boron fertilization should be based on yield goals along with soil tests and/or plant analyses.

Your boron fertilizer options

  • Boron fertilizer may be applied in dry or fluid blends. With dry bulk blend fertilizer, broadcasting before planting is recommended, using Granubor®
  • Boron may be applied broadcast in a semicircle around the plant using Fertibor®
  • Boron in liquid fertilizers may be broadcast, or fertigated using Solubor®. This material may also be mixed with pesticides or, in aqueous spray, then applied to foliage

Boron fertilizer boosts sugar cane health and yield

Our study between September 2012 and September 2013 in the Batang District of Central Java, Indonesia, found that Fertibor helped increase the vegetative period, height and diameter of the sugar cane stem. It also increased the weight harvest of sugar cane by 18.69% and crystal sugar content by 16.87%.

U.S. Borax Products

15% Boron |  | OMRI Certified
Optimum product for suspensions

A fine crystalline borate ideal for NPK compound fertilizers and suspensions. Manufactured as free-flowing granules, Fertibor is easily handled and offers superior flow and consistency.

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15% Boron |  | OMRI Certified
Made especially for bulk blenders

A pure, 100% water-soluble micronutrient that meets boron demand during the growing season. Made especially for bulk blenders, Granubor helps to ensure uniform distribution in nutritional blends and in the field.

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20.5% Boron |  | OMRI Certified
Product of choice for foliar applications

A concentrated, highly soluble, and fast dissolving powder that is ideal for foliar and other sprays. With the highest concentration of boron in any approved product, Solubor is an economical choice for nutritional formulations.

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20.8% Boron
Boron for fertilizer manufacturing

This refined U.S. Borax product is made from the dehydration and fusion of borax. Depending on the grade, Anhybor can be used to produce boron-enriched compound fertilizers or to coat different fertilizer products, such as NPK blends with the aid of a binder.

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10% Boron
Solubor Flow
For fertigation or hydroponic growing

First and only aqueous suspension of sodium borate microcrystals.

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14.5% Boron | 29% Zinc
Perfect combination of zinc and boron

Because zinc and boron deficiency are widespread around the world, a product with both nutrients is a good fit in many regions. Zincubor brings these two important micronutrients together in one product.

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Calculate Your ROI

Soil Application (Suggested rates of application)

  Granubor Fertibor
LBS/ACRE 4.46 - 9.0 4.46 - 9.0
KG/HA 5.0 - 10.0 5.0 - 10.0

Foliar Application (Suggested rates of application)

KG/HA 2.0
Value in Use
Current Yield (Per Acre)
Expected Sale Price

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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