Each harvest comes with a degree of soil nutrient removal, depending on the crop and yield. Consider a fall fertilizer application to maintain nutrients in the soil after harvest and prepare fields for the 2021 growing season. Read on to learn how interpreting soil test results and strategic application timing can set you up for success next year.
Achieving balanced crop nutrition comes down to managing soil fertility and nutrient needs.
Phosphorus is one of the three macronutrients essential for plant growth. It is required for the photosynthesis process, converting the sun's energy into food for the plant. It is also required for strong root development. A plant must be able to access phosphorus to ensure a healthy growing cycle.
By understanding how nutrients work together, farmers can optimize production and investment in fertilizer while minimizing the opportunity for excess nutrients to negatively impact the environment. Potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) are two vital nutrients that create greater benefits working together than alone.
Single superphosphate (SSP) was the first commercial mineral fertilizer, and it led to the development of the modern plant nutrient industry. This material was once the most commonly used fertilizer, but other phosphorus (P) fertilizers have largely replaced SSP because of its relatively low P content.
The production and application of nitrophosphate fertilizers is largely regional, its use centered where this technology is advantageous. The process uses nitric acid instead of sulfuric acid for treating phosphate rock and doesn’t produce gypsum byproducts.
Despite phosphorus (P) availability from geologic deposits distributed around the globe, widespread P deficiency in soils limits the growth and productivity of plants in many parts of the world. Because of this, growers commonly add this nutrient to their fields to improve crop yield and quality. Polyphosphate is an excellent liquid P fertilizer used to increase agricultural production.
The cornerstone of profitable crop production is a sound soil fertility program. Such programs require forethought and planning. One of the most useful tools farmers can use in soil fertility planning is soil testing. Planning a fertility program without soil test data is largely guesswork. Other factors to consider in planning an efficient fertility program are fertilizer rates of application, placement and timing.
Potassium (K) fertilizers are commonly used to overcome plant deficiencies. Where soils cannot supply the amount of K required by crops, farmers must supplement this essential plant nutrient. Potash is a general term used to describe a variety of K-containing agricultural fertilizers. Potassium chloride (KCl), the most commonly used source, is also frequently referred to as muriate of potash, or MOP (muriate is the old name for any chloride-containing salt).
Potassium is always present in minerals as a single-charged cation (K⁺).
Potassium (K) fertilizer is commonly added to improve the yield and quality of plants growing in soils that are lacking an adequate supply of this essential nutrient. Most fertilizer K comes from ancient salt deposits located throughout the world. The word “potash” is a general term that most frequently refers to potassium chloride (KCl), but it also applies to all other K-containing fertilizers, such as potassium sulfate (K₂SO₄, commonly referred to as sulfate of potash, or SOP).
Potassium nitrate (KNO₃) is a soluble source of two major essential plant nutrients. It’s commonly used as a fertilizer for high-value crops that benefit from nitrate (NO₃-) nutrition and a source of potassium (K+) free of chloride (Cl⁻).
Nitrogen (N) is one of the most widely distributed elements in nature, since it’s the most abundant gas in the atmosphere. While N isn’t found in mineral forms like phosphorus (P) or potassium (K), it’s largely present in organic compounds. Soil-based N undergoes many complex biological transformations that make it challenging to manage.