Improving plant performance with refined borates

:: Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When it comes to their crops, farmers and growers are continually assessing ways to increase both yield and quality. Adding boron to the soil is often the answer.

Boron is one of seven micronutrients essential for plant growth and development. Although it exists in all soil at varying levels, widespread deficiencies are one of the biggest factors in crops not achieving their potential. Multiple products on the market promise to increase boron levels in the soil, and research by U.S. Borax has found refined sodium borates to be best.

The company is the world’s leading supplier of refined borates to the agriculture industry. It has been at the forefront of crop research since 1940, and leads the industry in global research trials.

For the past 15 years, U.S. Borax has tested the performance of Granubor®, a pure, 100% water soluble, refined sodium borate product used in plant fertilization. The micronutrient is mined at the company’s open pit mine in Boron, California. Research shows it is both competitive and a good value when evaluated against other boron products.

Granubor is a natural product derived solely from sodium tetraborate — it’s granulated, but it’s not made with any sort of filters or coatings,” explained Damien Slowik, technical development specialist. “It’s designed to deliver boron over the course of 20 weeks, which is your typical growing cycle.”

A coffee trial executed during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 growing seasons near Espìrito Santo do Pinhal, São Paulo state Brazil, demonstrated its superiority in crop yield and quality as compared to granular ulexite. The study was conducted in partnership with agriculture researchers from Brazil.

Unlike Granubor, granular ulexite is made of raw mineral borates. These raw minerals, typically sodium-calcium borates, are mostly unprocessed, contain impurities and have low water solubility, making it difficult to know exactly how much boron is being released into the soil and when.

“This is key to the farmers that are going to use it out in the field and want a steady, constant release of boron,” said Mark Manning, director of agriculture market development. “Our refined sodium borate is able to deliver that over the entire growing season.”



 agriculture farming

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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