Sound Advice: Identifying Phosphorus Deficiency

In this edition of Sound Advice, we join Rich Haynes, Sales Agronomist with Sound, in a central Illinois corn field as he discusses the importance of phosphorus, its impact on yield, and how to spot deficiencies. Phosphorus is one of three key plant macronutrients and is necessary for converting energy into nutrients and transferring the energy created during photosynthesis. Phosphorus deficiency can lead to impaired growth of both plants and roots, reduced yield, and delay maturity, making it essential that growers secure enough phosphorus for their crop. 

But phosphorus is also one of the most immobile and unavailable nutrients. The most common plant-available form of phosphorus forms strong bonds with soil particles and with elements like calcium, aluminum, and iron, making them inaccessible. Traditionally, microbes in the soil biome unlock small amounts of phosphorus in exchange for glucose from plants, but traditional farming practices that regularly disturb or neglect this biome have impacted the natural phosphorus cycle and the amount available to plants. 

Phosphorus deficiencies can lead to: 

  • Diminished root growth
  • Stunted plant development
  • Yield loss during grain fill

Growers should rely on soil tests to show them what’s happening in their soil and consider practices and products, like SOURCE™, that will help unlock soil-bound phosphorus and improve soil health. 

For more information, contact the agronomy team at agronomy@sound.ag. Be sure to subscribe and join us on our next visit to the farm for more Sound Advice.