Agronomy

Proactively Manage Soil pH

Soil Sample Keeper

Soil pH is the foundation of soil fertility

Soil pH is a master variable in the soil. It makes everything in the soil, whether biological or chemical, work together to create a hospitable environment for plants to grow. Managing soil pH is a critical part of a soil fertility plan.

Managing soil pH improves nutrient availability and yield

In crop production, we shoot for soil pH to be between 6 and 7. Some crops are more sensitive than others to soil pH. The table below shows the relative yield of selected crops at different pH levels. This tells us that at a soil pH of 5.7, corn yield is at 83% of its potential. 

Crop Yield and Soil PH Chart

The reason crop yield is impacted by soil pH is largely due to nutrient availability. Phosphorus is the nutrient most impacted by soil pH. At high pH levels, calcium and phosphorus tend to bind up with each other. At low pH, aluminum and iron bind up phosphorus and limit the nutrient’s availability. 

While phosphorus is most impacted, nitrogen and potassium are also affected by soil pH. The bacteria responsible for the nitrification process are hindered at low pH, which decreases nitrate availability and forces plants to utilize ammonium, lowering nitrogen use efficiency. Potassium availability is decreased when hydrogen cations from acidification build-up, reducing the potential for potassium cations to be held in the soil.

Avoid the pH rollercoaster

Aglime takes about two years to correct soil pH. While soil pH slowly returns to optimal levels in the first one to two years, yield suffers. After the third year, soil pH drops below optimal levels and yield suffers again. This pH roller coaster is depicted in the line graph below and is not a long-term solution. In order to maximize yield potential every year, soil pH should be maintained at a consistent level.

98 G Soil PH Graph

Ask your Landus Field Sales Agronomist about 98G

Talk to us about how we can help you manage soil pH to optimize yield every year with 98G pelletized limestone from Calcium Products.

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