Post-harvest Nutrient Management

 
  From the November 6, 2017 Issue of Agri-News
Subscribe to our free E-Newsletter, "Agri-News" (formerly RTW This Week)Agri-News
This Week
     Agri-News HomeAgri-News Home
 
 
 
 An Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) crop specialist says now is the time for both soil fertility evaluations and fertilizer applications.

“Soil testing in the fall, rather than in the spring, gives more time for both collecting samples and planning fertilizer programs,” says Mark Cutts, AF. “It also allows producers to take advantage of any lower fall fertilizer prices, and reduces spring workload.”

Soil sample collection can occur once soil temperatures are below 70o Celsius. “Waiting until soil temperatures are cooler means soil nutrient levels should closely reflect spring nutrient levels.”

Cutts says it is important to ensure sample collection occurs in a consistent manner in representative areas of the field. “For example, if there are small areas of poorly drained low spots in a field, these areas shouldn’t be included in the sample collection. The non-representative areas can be sampled separately to determine their fertility status. Sampling at the appropriate depths is also important to ensure you get meaningful nutrient information. Recommended sampling depths are 0-15 cm, 15-30 cm and 30-60 cm. The 0-15 cm depth will capture crop available soil phosphorous and potassium. However, for mobile nutrients such as nitrate nitrogen and sulphate, sampling to a depth of 60 cm gives a more reliable measure of the amount present in the soil profile.”

Applying fertilizer in the fall is another practice Cutts recommends.

“The most common method for applying fall fertilizer is to band nitrogen either as urea (46-0-0) or anhydrous ammonia (82-0-0). Since nitrogen makes up the biggest volume of applied fertilizer, a fall application will enhance efficiencies during spring seeding. Fall nitrogen fertilizer applications can be made once soil temperatures are below 7o Celsius.”

Applying urea or anhydrous ammonia fertilizer at cooler soil temperatures will help maintain nitrogen in the ammonium (NH4+) form. “The ammonium form of nitrogen is preferred as it’s protected from denitrification or leaching losses.” says Cutts. “However, there’s no real advantage to a fall application of seed-placed plant nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium.

“Ultimately, by evaluating soil nutrient levels and applying nitrogen fertilizer in the fall, producers can gain efficiencies in time management and cost of production.”

For more information on post-harvest nutrient activities, call the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM.

Contact:
Mark Cutts
Alberta Ag-Info Centre
310-FARM (3276)

 
 
 
 
view Agri-News RSS FeedAgri-News RSS Feed      Share via AddThis.com

For more information about the content of this document, contact Mark Cutts.
This document is maintained by Stephanie Irvine.
This information published to the web on October 18, 2017.