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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Soil testing for P and K has value in nutrient management for annual crops


Adequate nutrients in forms available to plant roots are essential for sustainable crop production. Soil testing for phosphorus and potassium availability allows growers and crop advisers to determine whether a soil is likely to respond to fertilization. As yields have risen with improved management and production systems, crop nutrient demand and the removal of nutrients with harvested crops have increased. An in-depth discussion of soil tests for phosphorus and potassium and their use in California cropping systems is clearly needed. We review how these nutrients become available to plant roots, how samples are taken and test results interpreted, complementary ways to assess the adequacy of supplies and what research is needed to improve soil testing for phosphorus and potassium.

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