Factors affecting crop response to fertilizers

Factors affecting crop response to fertilizers

  • Amount of fertilizers applied;
    Correct rate of fertilizers should be applied as too much/too little affects crop growth

  • Fertility level of the soil;
    If the soil is already fertile, then there’s no need to add fertilizers because the crops will not utilize it.
  • Moisture content of the soil; Soil moisture dissolves fertilizer elements which will be taken in by plants in solution form.
  • Soil temperature;
    Some fertilizers especially N fertilizers are affected by high temperatures. They tend to escape into atmosphere by volatilization.
  • Soil PH;
    This affects the availability of some fertilizers elements in the soil. e.g. Under low PH (acidic) phosphorous becomes un available to plants.
  • Type of crop;
    Crops like legumes do not require N fertilizers application because they are able to fix their own N.
  • Method of application;
    Fertilizers should not be placed too close or too far as some may instead burn the crop when in direct contact.

  • Stage of crop growth;
    Fertilizers should be applied at right stage of crop growth e.g. N fertilizers should be top dressed at knee high stage of crop.
  • Nature/form of the fertilizers;
    Some fertilizers are less soluble e.g. SSP, this should be applied early enough to allow it to dissolve and be taken up by plants easily, While others dissolve early e.g. N (urea).
  • Plant population;
    Optimum plant population ensures that plants get adequate N while too high population, there will be competition.
  • Weed infestation;
    Too many weeds compete with crops for nutrients and response is going to be poor. Weed free crops respond well to fertilizer application


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