If we are indeed what we eat, then humans, too, need to be aware of the impacts of the depletion of nutrients from the soil and how this correlates to humans who consume these crops.

Zinc is an essential micronutrient needed by crops and people. According to the United Nations, almost half of the world’s cereal crops are deficient in zinc, leading to poor crop yields.

Medical research has shown that areas with zinc-deficient soils are often regions with widespread zinc deficiency in humans.

In fact, one-third of the world population is at risk of zinc deficiency, ranging dramatically from less than five percent to near 75 percent, depending on the country.

Zinc deficiency is the fifth leading risk factor for disease in the developing world.

Wheat growers are already seeing the effect of the loss of nutrients in many fields across the Upper Southeast. Many of the nutrients and micronutrients that are normally available in the soil just aren’t there this year.

As growers begin planning for their 2014 crops, soil testing should be a renewed area of interest.

Many of the unusual disease problems seen this year were likely physiological and heavily impacted by the loss of vital nutrients from excessive rains.

Providing adequate nutrition for next year’s crop is going to be a vital factor in how well spring crops get up and growing next season.

rroberson@farmpress.com

 

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