Tailored Plant Nutrition through T.E.A.M. Program

The T.E.A.M. program gives solid recommendations for tailored plant nutrition .
Posted: November 3, 2023

Precision agriculture changed the game for agriculture. Giving crops exactly what they need, when they need it can help meet many end goals. It ensures increased productivity while removing unneeded inputs. Balchem believes precision nutrition should be more than just sensors and AI, we also must understand when and how to apply nutrients to maximize efficiency, quality and health. This becomes a tall order since soil, water, sunlight and other biological factors vary greatly. On the other hand, a crop’s particular nutritional needs stay fairly consistent.

Liebig’s Law:

In nutrition, experts often refer to Liebig’s law of the minimum, illustrated by a barrel. This theory suggests that some nutrients, while needed in very low volumes, may become the biggest limiting factor in plant growth if deficiency is present. Deficiency causes improper physiological function, which limits growth potential, similar to a hole in a barrel. On the other hand, a balanced plant’s “bucket” can fill and growth potential increases.

Balchem T.E.A.M®. approach:

Balchem agronomists use what we refer to as the T.E.A.M. (Technical Evaluation of Albion Minerals) approach. This approach utilizes a software solution to analyze data from leaf tissues samples based on the crop and growth stage. It then makes actionable recommendations of which nutrients need to be applied and at what rate, to bring the plant’s nutrition into balance. This results in plants realizing their genetic potential and peace of mind for growers, since they receive a tailored program and recommendation for their specific crop and production needs.


Balchem’s agronomists have utilized the T.E.A.M. approach all over the globe for years. A few highlights below demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach.


In the Pacific Northwest, a research trial compared three foliar application programs. These included no foliar application, the grower’s standard practice, and applying according to the T.E.A.M. analysis. Agronomists entered leaf tissue analysis into the system which found multiple nutrient deficiencies. After application, another analysis was taken. The T.E.A.M.  program brought the deficiencies back in line with ideal levels, while the growers standard and no foliar application treatments maintained similar levels of deficiencies. The T.E.A.M. program ensured that even micronutrients would not be the limiting factor in that production system.


In a winter wheat trial in the U.K., a T.E.A.M. analysis reported significant deficiencies in Boron, Zinc and Copper. The researchers then applied individual nutrients to correct one nutrient deficiency but not all, a combination to correct all, and additional nutrients as a broad application as well.  The individual application did result in a minimal yield increase (between 0.4-1.2 percent). The tailored T.E.A.M. program that used multiple Metalosate products to treat all the detected  deficiencies  resulted in a yield increase of 5.23 percent.


Research was performed comparing a  control, a grower’s standard practice, and the T.E.A.M. approach. The T.E.A.M. approach showed deficiencies of Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese at the first analysis and Zinc deficiency a month later at the second analysis. The T.E.A.M. approach allowed for easy application recommendations to rectify the deficiency. The researchers also looked at harvest data, to determine if the T.E.A.M. approach assisted in meeting final production goals, as well as plant health. The grower standard resulted in an increase in yield of 3 percent, while the T.E.A.M. program delivered a 10 percent gain in yield and 8 percent increase in the number of potatoes. By delivering what the plant needed, when and where it needed it most, the Metalosate program increased overall yield and size of potatoes.


A trial in California analyzed the grower’s standard program, a Balchem standard program, and a T.E.A.M. analysis. A leaf tissue analysis determined Zinc and Copper deficiencies. After applying Metalosate Zinc and Metalosate Copper, significant improvements were seen in early bloom and new fruit set with both the Balchem standard and the T.E.A.M. analysis. Whole plant and root weights mid-season also improved.

The net return of these programs at the end of the season demonstrated the most impactful results. The T.E.A.M. program delivered a 22 percent net increase in profits at first pick and an 11 percent increase at second pick. This meant significantly more money toward the bottom line by utilizing the T.E.A.M. approach and recommendation.

Additional evidence for the T.E.A.M. approach can be seen in Onions and Cherries. These are just a few examples that demonstrate the benefit of the approach. Our team of agronomists continue to use these same principles they have relied on for decades to increase yield, quality, health and hardiness within growers’ operations. For additional information about how T.E.A.M. programs can help in your operation, contact your local Balchem representative.  


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