The Dirt on Molybdenum

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Molybdenum is a micronutrient that some producers have never heard of or do not know much about. It can only be found in trace amounts and is truly a “micronutrient.” It is still essential to the soil ecosystem, though, and can have a significant impact on your crop yield when maintained at the proper levels.

One of the first things you’ll see with a molybdenum deficiency is problems with your nitrogen levels. Molybdenum is the “nitrogen fixer” – it converts nitrates into proteins and amino acids that every plant needs. In legumes, molybdenum is required for soybean plants to utilize atmospheric nitrogen, therefore eliminating the need for nitrogen fixing fertilizers. Keep in mind, this micronutrient is dependent on your soil’s pH – only apply if you have a soil pH below 6.2. Applications at 6.5 pH and above can cause reductions in crop yield.

Molybdenum is beneficial for all crops and plants, but these have been found to be especially responsive:

  • Alfalfa, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, clover, lettuce, peas, soybeans, spinach, sugarbeets, tomatoes, tobacco, and most legumes.

Molybdenum is found in very small concentrations and is often confused with lead on soil tests.  Plant analyses can be a better way of testing for molybdenum, as the nutrient is absorbed through the leaves.