1 August 1997

P & K saving work

TESTING phosphorus and potassium levels in both plants and soil could help most wheat growers save money on P and K inputs, according to a research project funded by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority.

A four-year collaborative project by IACR Rothamsted and ADAS assessed the scope for using plant testing to check whether the current crops nutrient requirements are actually being met by soil reserves. By assessing performance in the current year fertiliser rates could be adjusted for the following crop.

The research showed that checking the percentage of P and K in leaf dry matter using the newest fully expanded leaf blade is best done during stem elongation, says Dr Peter Barraclough, IACR Rothamsted.

Ongoing LINK-funded research aims to develop in-field sap testing so growers can do the test themselves.