Healthy soils on our farms are essential for good crop growth. In order to create a healthy soil it can be related to the analogy of baking a cake. The main ingredients of a healthy soil bed is a good balance of pH, phosphorus (P) and potash (K). These are the core ingredients, just like the flour, eggs and milk.
Nitrogen is also a main compound and can be found on a NMP summary. It’s important to note that this nutrient doesn’t carry over from year to year, so it needs to be applied to the soil annually.
pH levels should be around a 6 - 6.5 range, to maintain a healthy organic environment. A drop in pH can make a soil become toxic which will evidently have a negative effect. On the other hand, a high increase in pH level can make some micro and macro nutrients less available. By knowing your pH levels can help decipher how much lime you apply to your fields.
Phosphorus is essential for being a constituent for ATP which helps transfer energy in plant cells. It also allows for a more efficient uptake of nitrogen, increased root development and many other vital roles.
Potash is important for metabolic processes as it allows crops to synthesise proteins and sugars, which increases growth and also maintains water content in the plant’s cells.
These are some of the most essential nutrients and by measuring them, you can create an accurate fertiliser application plan. Fertiliser can be one of the biggest costs on a farm, so you don’t want to be buying and applying more than you need.