Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The standard fertilizer N-P-K effects other metals

Further on from yesterdays post about we are still stuck in the three chemical Nitrogen - Phosphorus - Potassium fertilizing. All the minerals in the soil interact. Therefore using these three they affect other soil minerals. The following graph is a simplified cause/effect diagram. I have only drawn on the direct effects of N-P-K. As you can imagine if all interactions are displayed it becomes very difficult to follow! 

 Know you can see it is complex enough - when there are three minerals drawn in. We can conclude the following:
  • Boron will be significantly reduced in bioavailability as both nitrogen and potassium are antagonistic to it 
  • Zinc and copper bioavailability will be reduced. Zinc deficiency in cattle makes them susceptible to facial eczema (and liver disease). People know supplement cows with zinc, I wonder if the lack of zinc is due to so much fertilizer. 
  • There was a paper - which was really hard to get - and I have lost it !!! that discussed how trace elements in food had decreased over the decades. One of the minerals was copper - I wonder if this was due to the antagonism of phosphorus.

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