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Am I wasting phosphorus?
A Literature Review by Glenn Bailey, Rural Solutions SA edited by Felicity Turner, MacKillop Farm Management Group.
Phosphorus fertilisers are expected to get more expensive as demand overtakes supply.
- Fertiliser applied phosphorus can be lost rapidly on some sandy soils. There are some simple tests
- that can be done to indicate the risk of this happening.
- In other soils, phosphorus is fairly immobile and won’t be lost to leaching.
- Building up the soil reserves of phosphorus will make P more plant-available, regardless of how or
- when it is applied.
- The total phosphorus in the soil has value to you, not just the more readily available phosphorus.
- Generally if you maintain a balanced phosphorus regime, you will use everything that you apply in
- the long run.
- Phosphorus is fixed by most soils. This is a generally a good thing as it prevents leaching losses, so
- unless you have ‘high risk soils’, don’t be concerned about “lockup”.
- Don’t buy into alternatives to phosphorus fertilisers that claim to improve access to phosphorus
- stored in the soil.