Risks of Boron Toxicity in Canola and Lupin by Forms of Boron Application in Acid Sands of South-Western Australia

R.F. Brennan, R.W. Bell, Kirsten Frost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Boron (B) deficiency frequently occurs on soils that are low in organic carbon (C) (Ca 2) extractable B levels are commonly marginal in the acid sands of SWA. This study examined the effects of soluble and slow release soil-applied B fertilizer and foliar B sprays on crops most likely to respond to B fertilizer on these soils, canola (oil-seed rape, Brassica napus L.) and lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.). At 25 sites over three years, canola was grown with (0.34 kg ha-1) or without B applied as borax [sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Na2B4O7·10H2O) 11% B], and this was followed by nine experiments with B rates [0, 0.55, 1.1 kg ha−1, applied as borax or calcium borate (ulexite, NaCaB5O6(OH)6·5(H2O), 13% B] and foliar sprays (0.1% solution of solubor, 23% B) in 2000–2001. A further five sites of B rates and sources experiments were carried out with lupin in 2000–2001. Finally, foliar B sprays (5% B w/v as a phenolic complex) at flowering were tested on seven sites in farmers’ canola crops for seed yield increases. No seed yield increases to soil-applied B were found while foliar B application at flowering increased canola seed yield in only one season across seven locations. By contrast, borax fertilizer drilled with the seed at sowing decreased canola seed yield in nine of 34-farm sites, and decreased lupin yield in two of five trials. Toxicity from drilled boron fertilizer decreased yield could be explained by decreases in plant density (by 22–40%) to values lower than required for optimum seed yield. Seedling emergence was decreased by borax applied at sowing but less so by calcium borate. Foliar B spray application never reduced seed yield due to toxicity effects. Boron fertilizer drilled with the seed increased the B concentration in plant dry matter at early to mid-flowering. Boron application decreased the oil concentration of grain of canola at four sites. The oil yield of canola was significantly decreased at seven sites. Notwithstanding the marginal B levels on acid sands of the SWA region, care needs to be taken on use of borax fertilizer as toxicity was induced in canola and lupin; with 0.34 to 1 kg B ha−1(3-10 kg borax ha−1) at sowing depressing seed yield, mostly by decreasing plant density. Rather than making general recommendation for B fertilizer application based on 0.01M CaCl2 soil extractable B, soil and plant analysis should be used to diagnose B deficiency and B fertilizer use limited to calcium borate or foliar borax rather than soil-applied borax on low B sands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-937
JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Risks of Boron Toxicity in Canola and Lupin by Forms of Boron Application in Acid Sands of South-Western Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this