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PDA News

The PDA publishes both technical News items and shorter Blog items. PDA News provides the latest up to date information on macronutrients and their use, while blog items are shorter and timelier.

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Magnesium and Sodium for Grass

December 2023

Potash use has historically been linked to fears that so-called “luxury” uptake may cause staggers (Hypomagnesaemia) and other mineral disorders in livestock. Although metabolic problems can be costly, so too is sub-optimum use of potash. We review the facts.

Potash Nutrition of Cereals

September 2023

The latest PDA news highlights the benefits of potash for cereal crops. Cereal crops need at least as much, if not more, potash than any other nutrient. Potash controls cell sap content to maintain the turgor of the plant and supports the movement of all materials within the plant. Potash supply is thus essential for all nutrient uptake by the roots and movement to the leaves for photosynthesis, and for the distribution of sugars and proteins required for plant growth and grain fill.

Impact of Catch and Cover Cropping on Potassium Cycling

July 2023

Cover and catch cropping form an important cog in the arable regenerative farming wheel, helping to provide soil cover at times when no plants would otherwise be growing, and providing the living roots after harvest to help feed bacteria and fungi that form part of the food web and maintain soils in a healthy state.

2021/22 Season Review

March 2023

Looking back at last season with robust soil and crop analysis data is a fantastic means of assessing how the season went and determining how to improve performance for the coming season with insightful management decisions.

Plant Potassium Measurements

December 2022

The Fertiliser Manual (RB209) makes recommendations for Phosphate and Potash based on the Index system. This has proved to be the most efficient means of ensuring soils have sufficient available nutrient to optimise crop growth each year, however this one-off assessment may need monitoring to ensure this remains the case for each specific soil type and across the years between sampling and even within fields.

Impact of pH on nutrient availability

October 2022

When it comes to crop nutrition, soil pH must be considered the starting point, as the availability of all nutrients are affected by the pH of the soil. The optimum availability of most plant nutrients occurs around a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7, however the optimum pH for soils will vary depending on the soil type and the cropping.

Impact of price on nutrition decisions

July 2022

In such uncertain times placing greater scrutiny on all inputs is understandable. However, farmers must be careful not to reduce inputs which are crucial but, like potash, whose benefits are not visual or directly obvious.

Potash and sugar beet

March 2022

During the last four decades, yields of clean beet and sugar in the UK have been increasing linearly, at an average annual rate of 0.8 t/ha of clean beet. In this article, we consider if the currently recommended potash application rates are adequate to support this.

Potassium and nitrogen interactions in crops

December 2021

Nitrogen has hit the headlines in the last few months, not just within agriculture, but across the mainstream media on the back of factory closures. Within agriculture the focus has clearly been on the steep price rises and the resulting impact on the economic optimum rates. These calculations are wholly justified, but as is often the case, are very singular focussed.

Crop establishment

September 2021

Establishment is the most critical period in any annual crops life-cycle, as it is the time when the yield potential is set. All challenges the crop faces during the season serves to reduce the final yield from this potential. Therefore, conversely, any management decisions taken from this point onwards only helps limit the reduction in this yield potential.

The situation regarding P&K balances

June 2021

When looking at P&K balances in detail over the last five years, including fields where no applications were made, the overall balances are dramatically negative. Maintaining soils at the target index is the safest way to ensure these crops are able to access the required quantities at the appropriate times to optimise growth, yield and therefore financial returns.

Nutrient Use Efficiency

March 2021

Nutrient, particularly nitrogen, use efficiency (NUE), is a particular talking-point currently within the industry as government considers ways to help reduce the impact of agriculture on greenhouse gas emissions. The Campaign for the Farmed Environment states the aim as more efficient nutrient management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, through better fertiliser application and management of […]

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