February 2022 Phosphorous Use


With the price/supply squeeze coming tighter during spring fertilizer purchases, farmers are looking for options that will still support high yields. The November newsletter touched on soil testing to see what is needed in your soil, not what you guess it needs.  It has been clear from looking at soil samples over the past 40 years, that fields with regular manure applications are testing high to very high in phosphorous.   This is especially true for fields that are daily spread or spread without immediate incorporation.  The nitrogen fractions volatilize and are lost while the phosphorous mostly remains.  Thus, more manure is applied to meet the nitrogen needs of the corn and so excess phosphorus, above and beyond the maximum needs of the crop, accumulates.   The high to very high soil test in phosphorous means that the odds of getting an economic return on starter phosphorous is nearly 0.

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