Crop Nutrients and Production
Whether crop nutrients are supplied from the soil (biologically or chemically), or the air (N fixation), from organic or commercial amendments (like manure or commercial fertilizers), it is critical to account for and balance all the sources of nutrients to ensure sustainability and economical production.
Crop Nutrients in Fertilizer
The crop nutrients contained in fertilizers are naturally occurring elements in our bodies and in the foods we eat. They come from the earth and from the air we breathe. For instance:
Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air we breathe
Phosphorus comes from phosphate rock ore
Potassium is created over thousands of years by mineral deposits left behind from evaporated sea water
Fertilizer is produced by changing these nutrients into a form that plants can use to grow.
Residual Crop Nutrients
Every wonder how much nutrient value remains after plowing down your crop due to the weather or poor quality?
It’s easy to forget that the amount of fertilizer we apply each year is calculated based on crop removal from the soil. In fact, we are not feeding the present crop (except for Nitrogen); we are feeding the soil. We’re replenishing nutrients to the soil that it gives up in order to grow the crop.
Crop nutrient recommendations are based on crop removal and/or an economical build over time, and do not dramatically change the soil levels in one season. Therefore, when making a recommendation for fertilizer, the best way to estimate the amount of nutrients used for the crop as well as the amount of nutrients returned to the soil via crop residue is to do a soil test.
When referring to the crop removal charts in the A & L Agronomy handbook (or other sources), don’t deduct the amount of nutrients that will be returned by the crop residue until you can actually see these values in the soil test levels.
Agromart leads the industry in Ontario and the Maritimes in supplying innovative crop nutrition solutions for all major crops produced in the region.