Eastern United States and Canada

Diverse but Boron Deficient

The Eastern United States has is widespread and diverse agricultural region. The Northeast ranks among the leading producers of many high-value fruit, vegetable, and specialty crops. Relatively cool temperatures, high rainfall and humidity, and loamy soil enhanced by centuries of crop and livestock production create ideal growing conditions for many crop types.

The climate of the southeastern U.S. has mild temperatures combined with abundant sunshine and plenty of available water to support a wide range of agricultural crops. The growing season in the Southeast can last 100 to 200 or more days (Kunkel et al. 2013). Many farmers in the Southeast grow several different crops in a single growing season, such as wheat followed by soybeans or cotton. This approach allows them to take advantage of different planting and harvesting dates to get the maximum use from their land.

The remainder of the Eastern U.S. is comprised of the hilly, mountainous tobacco farms of Appalachia and the major citrus producers in Florida which accounts for 70% of the annual citrus production in the country.

Peanuts thrive in the long growing season and sandy, well-drained soils of the southeast. About 68% of all U.S. peanuts are grown in the Southeast.

Featured Regional Crops

Boron has been universally recognized as the most important micronutrient for cotton production. It is essential at all stages of plant growth, and critically so during fruit development.
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Boron fertilization of soybeans has been shown to increase grain yield at many locations in several states. University researchers have found yield increases ranging from 5 to 18 bushels per acre.
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While boron fertilization may only occasionally improve peanut yields, it almost always is necessary for the prevention of “hollow heart” and other concealed disorders that severely reduce crop value.
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Improve Soil Conditions with Boron Supplementation

Requirements for boron vary substantially throughout the eastern United States depending on soil conditions and geography. Boron deficiency is more common in sandy soils of the southeast, which are low in organic matter content and more susceptible to leaching than the rich, fertile black soils of the northeast.

Certain crops, such as peanuts and cotton, require much higher soil boron levels. Peanuts are typically grown in light, sandy, well-drained soils, which are inherently low in organic matter, including boron. Since boron is also readily leached from these soils, peanuts need a constant supply of boron during all stages of growth, especially from flowering to harvest. Cotton also demands boron in high amounts for proper flowering and boll development. This need is even greater in modern high-yielding varieties that fruit quickly. Because both peanuts and cotton are typically grown in in soils that lack the ability to hold boron, it can be difficult to build up and maintain levels in the soil. Annual application of boron is recommended.

Soybeans, on the other hand, are tolerant of boron deficient soil. Even so, field studies show boron fertilization can increase soybean yields from 5 to 18 bushels per acre.

Growers in the southeast can optimize their crop production by knowing their crops’ nutrient requirements and how plants are impacted by other factors such as soil type and moisture level. If soil testing indicates a boron deficiency, farmers should follow their agronomist’s recommendations for the specific crop and area and request a refined, water soluble borate that supports plant health throughout the growing season.

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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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