Cultivation/Production, Europe, UK, Ireland, Research, Studies/Reports

Theory to field – Progress in the phosphate puzzle

Image result for potato plantsPhosphate is said to be the most difficult major plant nutrient when it comes to understanding how it behaves in the soil. But problems with the amount of phosphate in water means management of the nutrient needs a rethink. Dr Sajjad Awan, AHDB resource management scientist in the UK, says the AHDB has already funded around £1M of research on phosphate over the past 12 years. Prof Roger Sylvester-Bradley, ADAS head of crop performance, has been leading the phosphate research, which has revealed some interesting facts and sometimes puzzling behaviour. “Nothing moves fast with phosphate,” says Roger. Potato plants typically don’t have root systems that are as extensive as those found in cereals, so it’s important to manage soil so that rooting isn’t impeded, says Dr Marc Allison, senior researcher at NIAB CUF. “We’ve found occasional responses to applied phosphate at P Index 2 in potatoes, but no response at higher indices. More online. Or download as pdf file

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