Growing Possibilities, A blog by XiteBio | Want to Burst Your Bins Next Year? Remember Nutrient Management!
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Want to Burst Your Bins Next Year? Remember Nutrient Management!

After a year that saw above-average yields for wheat and canola despite dry conditions in much of North America, many farmers’ bins are brimming to the top with this year’s harvest, especially in the Canadian prairies. But all that grain can take a toll on your soil, depleting it of critical nutrients. The following table lists uptake and removal rates of major crops in Western Canada:

Crop   N (lb/ac) P2O5 (lb/ac) K2O (lb/ac) S (lb/ac)
Spring Wheat Uptake 76-93 29-35 65-80 8-10
Removal 54-66 21-26 16-19 4-5
Winter Wheat Uptake 61-74 27-34 64-78 9-11
Removal 47-57 23-28 15-19 6-8
Canola Uptake 100-123 46-57 73-89 17-21
Removal 61-74 33-40 16-20 10-12
Soybeans Uptake 160-200 28-35 84-155 12
Removal 130-140 28-30 48-50 4
Corn Uptake 138-168 57-69 116-141 13-16
Removal 87-107 39-48 25-30 6-7
Peas Uptake 138-168 38-46 123-150 11-14
Removal 105-129 31-38 32-39 6-7
Lentils Uptake 82-101 22-27 69-84 8-10
Removal 55-67 17-20 29-36 4-5
Barley Uptake 100-122 40-49 96-117 12-14
Removal 70-85 30-37 23-28 6-8
Faba Beans Uptake 257-314 89-108 229-280 12-15
Removal 154-188 55-67 47-57 6-8

Source: Canadian Fertilizer Institute

Uptake refers to the amount of each nutrient that a crop takes up over the course of the growing season, while removal refers to the amount that is removed when the grain is harvested. The removal rate is what is lost at harvest, and needs to be replenished to ensure consistent yields. Nutrients that are taken up by the plants but not harvested as grain (crop residues) will be slowly released back into the soil as microbes work to break down the residues. Uptake and removal rates vary considerably by crop. Some crops, such as soybeans and peas, also fix their own nitrogen from the atmosphere through a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobia bacteria, reducing the need for additional N application.

Different crops also vary in terms of when they reach peak nutrient uptake. Cool season crops such as canola and wheat begin their period of intensive N uptake about three weeks before long season crops such as corn or soybeans. This can affect the timing of application as well as the rate of uptake, as longer season crops may have more time to take up N as it becomes mineralized over the course of the growing season. Producers should combine soil test results with best management practices to ensure that they have a sound nutrient management plan for their farm. 

Products from XiteBio® go hand in hand with a good nutrient management plan. XiteBio® SoyRhizo® and PulseRhizo® inoculants provide superior nodulation, ensuring plants to fix adequate N resulting in consistently better yields. XiteBio Yield+ biologicals utilize a unique strain of Bacillus firmus that solubilizes P, making it more available for plant uptake. The bacteria also releases iron-chelating siderophores, compounds that help make iron more available to the plant, and phytohormones (viz. IAA) that encourage greater root system growth and development. An adequate supply of N and P at critical times in the crop growing season can be the difference between a harvest that results in a healthy and profitable crop and the one that does not.

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