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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Agronomic Principles of Fertilizer Placement

Author
item Kovar, John

Submitted to: Annual Fertilizer Industry Round Table
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 2002
Publication Date: October 30, 2002
Citation: KOVAR, J.L. AGRONOMIC PRINCIPLES OF FERTILIZER PLACEMENT. PROSSER, P.J. EDITOR. ANNUAL FERTILIZER INDUSTRY ROUND TABLE. 2002. CD-ROM. FOREST HILL, MD.

Interpretive Summary: Proper placement of fertilizer nutrients in soil is just as important as choosing the correct amount to apply. Optimum placement of added nutrients improves utilization by the crop root system, which sets the stage for maximum yields. Due to the complexity of the plant-soil system, the most effective placement will vary with the type of nutrient(s) applied, the crop being grown, and the environment in which the crop is grown. For fertilizer placement to be effective, the availability of the added nutrient must increase, and the root system must be able to take advantage of this increase. In this article, I review various environmental conditions that affect the ability of soil to supply phosphorus and potassium to plant root systems, factors affecting root growth, nutrient uptake by roots, and the relationship of these soil and plant processes to effective fertilizer placement. An understanding of these basic principles is necessary to ensure that maximum soil productivity and profitability are sustained and that the environmental impact of nutrient use is minimized. This knowledge will benefit both commercial growers and the fertilizer industry by providing nutrient management alternatives that maximize crop utilization and minimize potential nutrient losses.

Technical Abstract: Proper placement of fertilizer nutrients in soil is just as important as choosing the correct amount to apply. Optimum placement of added nutrients improves nutrient-use efficiency, which promotes maximum yields of intensively-managed agronomic crops. Due to the complexity of the plant-soil system, however, the most effective placement will vary with the type of nutrient(s) applied, the crop being grown, and the environment in which the crop is grown. In general, the soil supply of the added nutrient must increase, and the root system must be able to take advantage of the increase, for fertilizer placement to be effective. The information presented in this article provides a brief overview of soil nutrient supply, factors affecting root growth, nutrient uptake by roots, and finally, the relationship of these soil and plant processes to effective fertilizer placement.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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