Beyond NP&K, don’t forget lime and micronutrients

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

The big three nutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, get most of the buzz when discussing soil nutrients. Lime is like the Maytag salesman—people forget to respect its importance in soil fertility. Especially on sandy loam soils of Michigan, low soil pH can often be a deciding factor on micronutrient availability to crops. The soils often are not truly deficient of the nutrient and it may be in the soil, but the pH of the soil keeps it from being readily available to plant growth. Sandy soils tend to suffer from low pH, which can be corrected with lime. Clay soils may be high in pH, a condition that is much harder to remedy and often necessitates the addition of the micronutrients, especially zinc and manganese.

If you spread livestock manure, you are adding free micronutrients. Manure samples can be tested for micronutrient content at an additional cost. Micronutrients are called “micro” because when needed, just several pounds per acre will correct a problem. Even if micronutrients are added with manure, if the pH is out of line, the nutrients may still not be available for plant growth. Legume crops that make their own nitrogen such as alfalfa and soybeans are sensitive to pH and prefer a 6.5 -7.0 to produce their own nitrogen. Corn is more tolerant of pH, but the 6.5-6.8 is still considered the range to achieve.

Rental ground is always a concern for pH. When pH is low, lime is recommended. Lime is considered slow to adjust pH but has several years of useful benefits. Producers with year to year land rental contracts may be hesitant to invest in lime.

Soil testing is the best way to determine pH, whether lime is recommended, and how much is needed per acre, based on the specific soil type and crop to be grown. If you are concerned about the availability of a certain micro nutrient, have the soil lab run a specific test on that nutrient.                                       

Teaming up a soil test and knowing the analysis on manure will enable you to keep tabs on soil pH and micronutrient availability so that crops are not shorted nor money spent on unnecessary nutrients.

Source: Natalie Rector, Michigan State University Extension


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Related Articles

No matching related articles at this time.



Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


LPV Seed Treater

The LPV Seed Treater has set a new standard boasting three configurable weighing methods for any-sized operation, a standard 42” ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form