Fall-Applied Phosphorus: Efficient And Effective

Is fall a good time to apply phosphorus, and will the applied phosphorus be available for spring-planted crops? Those are key questions many retailers and growers ask when considering fall-applied phosphorus.

This was the subject of CropLife Media Group’s recent Webinar “Fall-Applied Phosphorus: Efficient And Effective,” presented by Dr. Barney Gordon, agronomic consultant and Professor Emeritus, Kansas State Uni­versity, and Jake Sanders, Special­ty Fertilizer Products’ (SFP) vice president of market development. The two speakers discussed the advantages and benefits of fall phosphorus application, as well as some innovative tools that help increase its availability to spring-planted crops.

Maximizing Yields With Phosphorus

Phosphorus (P) is essential for crop growth and development, Gordon said during the Webinar. “Availability of adequate P, especially early in the growing season, has a profound effect on crop yield in both corn and wheat,” he said.

While application of P to the soil is necessary to ensure plant productivity, the recovery of applied P by the crop plants is often low due to a lack of P movement, or diffusion. Gordon said there are several factors that affect phosphorus diffusion in the soil. They are:

  • Volumetric water content: Increasing soil moisture level increases rate of diffusion.
  • Soil bulk density: Changing bulk density affects the ability of nutrients to diffuse to the root surface.
  • Soil buffering capacity: Ability of the soil to maintain nutrient concentration.
  • Nutrient concentration: Initial amounts of nutrients in the soil.
  • Temperature: Increasing the temperature increases concentration in the solution.

Studies show when soil temperature is reduced from 70°F to 58°F, corn root growth decreased five-fold and P uptake by corn roots decreased four-fold, Gordon said. “The colder the soil, the more problems we have getting phosphorus to the plant,” he said.

Gordon said he’s found little difference in yield when P was applied in the fall or the spring, providing growers with much-needed flexibility.

“Weather can cause delays in the spring, which makes it difficult to get planting done in a timely manner,” he said. “Fall application of fertilizer has the advantage of taking some of the workload off of producers. We could put our fertilizer on in the fall and still have it available and working for us in the spring.”

In addition to corn, wheat also tends to be highly responsive to P input, Gordon said. “P is generally the second most limiting nutrient in wheat production, behind N (nitrogen),” he said. “And in some areas, P is more limiting than N.”

Early-season P deficiency limits yield potential in wheat production, Gordon added. “The most critical period is that first five to six weeks after emergence in the fall,” he said. “P has major impacts on tillering and rooting. So it’s critical we have adequate amounts of phosphorus in the fall when the wheat crop first germinates and starts growing.”

Greater Efficiency With AVAIL

One of the most significant problems associated with P is that it is extremely inefficient, SFP’s Sanders said. “It becomes tied-up, or fixed to the soil,” he said. “This happens because phosphorus has a negative charge and other elements in the soil have a positive charge. When they are active in the soil, they come together like a magnet and severely limit the crop’s access to the nutrient.”

Research shows that 75% to 95% of applied P is lost during the season of application. “In the best-case scenario, we are losing 75% of our phosphorus, which is an incredibly inefficient way to do business,” Sanders said. “We firmly believe that a solution to that problem is AVAIL.”
AVAIL P fertilizer enhancer is a water-soluble polymer with a very high negative charge, Sanders said. When that polymer is used as a coating on granular P or mixed into fluid P fertilizers, it diffuses out in the soil and interfaces with those positive charges that would typically tie up the P.
“Now instead of losing 75% to 95%, we keep a majority of that phosphorus available to the crop,” he said.

Sanders shared results from several corn yield studies that examined fall application of P with and without AVAIL. “We’re seeing the same positive effect whether we apply phosphorus with AVAIL in the fall or in the spring,” he said. “And when we’re talking about time savings, that’s a big deal. We can save a lot of time by getting that phosphate out early, protecting it, making it available to the crop and receiving the greatest return on investment for the grower.” 

Leave a Reply

Fertilizer Stories

Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
FertilizerBRANDT Specialty Fertilizers Help Grower Set Soybean Yield Record
September 12, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty Ag products, has announced that its new proprietary nutrition products were Read More
Corn Field
FertilizerBridging Crop Nutrition Science And Technology
September 7, 2016
The future seemed to draw nearer for the 1,600-plus attendees of the co-located InfoAg and International Precision Agriculture conferences in St. Read More
Fertilizer Bin
FertilizerState Of The Fertilizer Industry Report Highlights Environmental, Social Contributions
September 6, 2016
As consumers, we live in a world with access to more data than we could ever hope to mine through. Read More
Trending Articles
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Latest News
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100California Ag Retailer Steps Up To Feed Families Affect…
September 16, 2016
GAR Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) in Reedley, CA, is challenging the Central Valley to help raise enough money and provide 525,000 meals Read More
Crop InputsBayer, Monsanto CEOs Discuss Merger
September 15, 2016
Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, discuss why they decided to merge their companies. Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsNY Times: Bayer-Monsanto a Bad Deal for Farmers
September 15, 2016
Via NY Times: Don Halcomb, a 63-year-old farmer in Adairville, KY, is expecting his profit to vanish this year, largely Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Merger Creates New Global Ag Giant
September 14, 2016
During the whole of 2016, many of the companies that do business in the agricultural industry have concluded the best Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More