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Soil Fertility. Montana Small Grain Guide pages 35-42. Essential Elements. Nutrients from Air and Water: Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen CHO Primary Nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium NPK Secondary Nutrients: Sulpher, Calcium, Magnesium SCaMg Micronutrients:

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soil fertility

Soil Fertility

Montana Small Grain Guide

pages 35-42

essential elements
Essential Elements
  • Nutrients from Air and Water:

Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen CHO

  • Primary Nutrients:

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium NPK

  • Secondary Nutrients:

Sulpher, Calcium, Magnesium SCaMg

  • Micronutrients:

zinc, iron, magnanese, copper, boron, molybdenum, chlorine

essential nutrients
Essential Nutrients
  • C HOPKNS CaFe Mg B Mn CuZn ClMo
  • See Hopkins Café Managed By Mine Cousin Clomo
soil fertility1
Soil Fertility
  • Harvesting crops removes nutrients from the soil
  • Chemical fertilizer, animal waste, sewage sludge
nutrient deficiencies
Nutrient Deficiencies
  • Visual symptoms can give a clue to deficiencies
  • Tissue analysis: identify shortages
  • At this time it is usually too late to correct
soil testing
Soil Testing
  • Availability of nutrients in soil
  • Soil sample collection
  • Lab analysis
  • Interpretation of test results
  • Recommendation
soil sampling
Soil Sampling
  • Collect at least 20 subsamples to 6” depth for standard soil tests
  • Nitrogen: test 6-12”, 12-24”, 24-48”
  • Avoid areas not representative of field
  • Place subsamples in clean plastic bucket
  • Mix samples, select approx. one cup in plastic bag
soil sampling1
Soil Sampling
  • Mail with name, field ID, depth of test, information sheet
  • Nitrate test: samples must be dried or frozen immediately after collection
    • prevent soil organisms from converting organic N to nitrate
  • Must consider:

-crop nutrient requirements

-expected yield

-cropping history

-tillage & residue mgmt techniques

  • Wheat & Barley take up Nitrogen in the ammonium (NH4) and nitrate (NO3)
  • Most nitrogen in soil is tied up in the organic matter
  • 1-3% becomes available to the crop each year by microorganisms
  • Mineralization: Organic matter breaks down to ammonium (NH4)
  • Nitrification: ammonium is converted to (NO3)
  • Soil temps below 40 deg., nitrification is very slow
  • Nitrate is very mobile, moves readily with water (Leaching)
  • Ammonium is attracted to the clay minerals and organic matter
nitrogen budget
Nitrogen Budget
  • Determine realistic yield goal
  • Determine crop Nitrogen requirement

-yield goal x constant

-wheat = 2.5

-barley = 1.8

  • Subtract soil test N from total N requirement
nitrogen budget1
Nitrogen Budget
  • Add 20# for each ton of residue incorporated just before planting

-1 bu. Yield = 100# of straw

  • Subtract 30# if alfalfa was previous crop
  • Subtract 8# for each ton of manure
  • Remainder is N fertilizer requirement
nitrogen budget example
Nitrogen Budget Example:
  • Goal is 30 bu/ac of Spring Wheat
  • Tests show soil has 30#/acre
  • Previous crop yield was 20 bu/ac
  • Add 10 tons of manure/ac
  • How much N should be added?
  • ((30 x 2.5)-30)+20-80=-15
  • Do not need to add N
timing of fertilizer application
Timing of Fertilizer Application
  • Small grains take up most of their Nitrogen early in the growing season
  • Nitrogen applied after tillering usually won’t affect yield