news

NEWS

Soil nutrient planning: get your soil ready for harvest 2021

Published on

As we enter the Autumn months and harvest for 2020 is all but over now is the time to start thinking about fertilizer planning for the 2021 harvest. The starting point is knowing what your soil indices are for the major nutrients as well as your soil pH. When did you last test your soils? It is now law to have them tested once every 5 years under the Farming Rules for Water.

Soil nutrient planning: get your soil ready for harvest 2021

NRM Soil Survey 2020 key findings

ADAS and a lot of other companies use NRM for Laboratory Analytical Services. They recently issued a summary of soil samples received in the last 12 months. This showed that a significant number of samples received had indices that were below index 2 for Phosphorus and Potassium.  Between 25% and 41% of the soils used to produce arable crops, vegetables and grassland were below index 2 for phosphate, whilst 27% to 58% of soils were below index 2 for Potassium.

Liebig's 'Law of Minimum'

Liebigs barrel
Figure 1: Liebig's Barrel (Source NRM)

In the current economic climate, it is even more vital to make the most efficient use of all the nutrients and inputs we apply to crops. Liebig introduced his ‘law of minimum’ which describes crop production as being limited by the nutrient of shortest supply. Thus, if a crop has ample supply of say Nitrogen, but phosphorus levels are short then the yield achieved will be limited by the levels of phosphorus.

Obviously, Liebig’s barrel (Figure 1) also has other non-nutrient related factors that can affect the yield, such as light and water supply. We cannot influence all the factors, but where we can we need to do as much as we can to optimize everything.

Liebig’s law shows in order to manage a crops nutrition we must measure and identify the limiting factor.

The nutrition of a crop is a complex system and as well as under supply of nutrients over supply can also have a detrimental effect on crops through antagonistic effects on other nutrients.

Nutrient relationships

The Mulder's chart (Figure 2) below shows the relationships between some of the various nutrients.  High levels of Calcium in the soil can reduce the availability of Boron, Iron and Magnesium, whilst high levels of Nitrogen can reduce the availability of Copper. On the other hand, high levels of Nitrogen will increase the demand for Magnesium.

Mulder Chart
Figure 2: Mulder Chart

It is therefore vital that we get the nutrient balance right and the starting point is checking out the soil analysis. With the cereal harvest over and many fields still in stubbles now is the ideal time to take soils samples and get them sent away for analysis; and once the results are back to start the process of nutrient planning to make the best use of the organic manures, composts and slurries available to the business and to optimize bagged fertilizer purchases, whilst meeting crop requirements.

Nutrient planning services

ADAS provide a soil sampling and nutrient planning service to our clients. If you would like to find out more about how ADAS can help you with Nutrient Planning and help optimize your nutrient inputs, please contact one of the people below: -

North West

Stephen Watson

Tel 07831 145167
Stephen.Watson@adas.co.uk

Yorkshire Humber and North East

Ian Snowden

Tel 07774 224851
Ian.Snowden@adas.co.uk

West Midlands

Gillian Preece

Tel 07741 384992 
Gillian.Preece@adas.co.uk

East Midlands

Zoe Morgan

Tel 07771 848359
Zoe.Morgan@ads.co.uk

East and South-East

Mel Holloway

Tel 07785 708545
Mel.Holloway@adas.co.uk

South-West

Tim Martyn

Tel 07741 384442 
Tim.Martyn@adas.co.uk

 

Number of views (1031)

Share this article:

RSK logo

ADAS is part of the RSK Group. RSK is the UK’s largest privately-owned multi-disciplinary environmental consultancy and one of the fastest-growing companies of its kind in Europe. With operations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, our solutions-led consultancy services help organisations conduct business in a compliant, and environmentally-responsible manner

Spring Lodge, 172 Chester Road,
Helsby, WA6 0AR
+44 (0)1928 726006
communications@rsk.co.uk

ADAS logo

ADAS is the UK’s largest independent provider of agricultural and environmental consultancy, rural development services and policy advice. We have a unique combination of practical experience, underpinned by science-based data, which allows us to meet the needs of our clients. Our great strength is our breadth and depth of expertise spanning the entire environmental sector.

Spring Lodge, 172 Chester Road,
Helsby, WA6 0AR
+44 (0)333 0142950
enquiries@adas.co.uk

Copyright 2018 RSK ADAS Ltd.
ADAS is a trading name of RSK ADAS Ltd. Registered in England No. 10486936

| Terms Of Use | Privacy Copyright 2020 RSK ADAS Ltd.