Are You Stuck In the Minor League?
In the World Series, baseball greats put it all on the line for a shot at history. An entire season full of triumphs and disappointments comes down to one best-of-seven series. Year after year, you face your own World Series competition as your season-long efforts are put to the test at harvest. Just like baseball, hope alone is not a good strategy. Whatever the outcome of this season, if you intend to play again, it’s time to adjust your winning strategy for next season’s crop.
An important part of that winning strategy is your fertilizer planning and practices. Most agronomists recognize 17 essential elements in plant nutrition. Today, let’s take a closer look at phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).
Phosphorus, one of the three macronutrients, plays an important role in photosynthesis, respiration, seed and fruit production, energy transfer, cell division and cell enlargement. Phosphorus is important for early root formation, growth and vigor. It’s a vital structural nutrient and helps to hasten maturity.
Potassium, another of the three macronutrients, is required for various metabolic activities and physiological functions including photosynthesis, sugar and carbohydrate production. Adequate potassium has been shown to improve tolerance to disease and drought stress and reduce lodging of small grains. It’s a critical nutrient for winter hardiness, water-use efficiency and quality of seeds and fruits.
Phosphorus and potassium are released for plant uptake by the physical and chemical weathering of soil minerals and through decomposition of crop residues and soil organic matter. However, today’s crop yields and their associated P and K nutrient uptake often exceed amounts provided by the above processes alone. Thus, replenishment through supplemental application is important to maintaining long-term productivity.
Baseball has a minor league, and you’ll find yourself stuck in the minor league without sound fertilizer practices. A miner is one whose trade or business is extracting minerals or ore from the earth. Without supplemental fertilizer, crops often take up more nutrients than natural processes can provide. Over time, soil test levels of important elements decline and productivity suffers. Often the change is subtle and overshadowed by improvements in other areas such as improved crop varieties, better water management and more timely cultural practices. Don’t let your crop yield potential suffer by skimping on fertilizer. Feed the crop, and you may hit a home run.
Helena Chemical Company’s advanced soil management services, known as HyGround®, offer the tools to make sure you don’t play in the minor league. Talk to your crop advisor/PCA today about HyGround Soil Management Services.
- Michael Larkin, Precision Information Manager