Fundamentals of Fertilizer Application

Authored by: David B. Mengel , George W. Rehm

Handbook of Soil Sciences Resource Management and Environmental Impacts

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  November  2011

Print ISBN: 9781439803073
eBook ISBN: 9781439803080
Adobe ISBN:


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Efficiency of nutrient application is one of the major factors affecting the overall effectiveness of a fertilizer program. There are a number of ways that the efficiency of fertilizer use can be measured, such as the percent of the applied nutrient taken up by the plant or the increase in crop yield per unit of applied nutrient. But regardless of the measure used, a number of interacting factors determine the efficiency of a given fertilizer application. The relative mobility of the nutrient of concern in the soil is foremost in importance. Nitrogen (N) is an excellent example of a nutrient that is mobile in the soil and easily lost from the root zone. Devising an application system that can provide N to the crop when it is needed is the challenge in many cropping situations. Sulfur, B, and Cl are other nutrients considered to be mobile in soils. Compared to N usage, uptake of these nutrients is rather small. However, management decisions regarding time and method of application may still be needed to ensure optimum utilization.

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