Research reported by Iowa State University during the winter of 1975-76 suggested that a means of increasing soybean yields by use of a specific foliar fertilizer had been demonstrated (1976). Theory proposed to explain the reported responses was as follows: Up to the seed filling period in soybean growth, soybean roots and activity of nitrogen-fixing bacteria contained in root nodules are capable of supplying the necessary nutrients to meet the plants demands. However, as seed filling begins root growth stops and nodule activity declines. This results in nutrients being redistributed from leaves to seeds and a reduction in rate of photosynthesis. Consequently, studies were conducted to evaluate methods of foliar fertilization in an attempt to maintain photosynthetic rate and nutrient supply during seed filling, the objective being to increase yields.
Wells, Kenneth L.; Egli, Dennis B.; Wyatt, C. E.; and Kavanaugh, John, "Foliar Fertilization of Soybeans" (1977). Agronomy Notes. 116.