Low soil pH can reduce yield
Soil pH is considered by soil scientists to be a master variable that affects a wide range of chemical and biological processes in the soil. Low pH (below 6.0) can reduce your yield substantially. Nutrient availability is at the crux of this detrimental effect on yield. It’s important to know what is recommended by experts in your state with respect to target pH. Typically, most states in the Midwest recommend a pH of 6.0 – 6.5 to maximize yield while considering liming investment.
Every nutrient’s availability is affected by soil pH
Soil pH is the foundation of and main governor of soil fertility. Every nutrient’s availability to plants and behavior in soil is affected by soil pH, some more so than others, which is why correcting and maintaining pH at adequate levels is so important.
Phosphorous (P) availability is the nutrient most hindered by pH, because P is very reactive with other nutrients and minerals in the soil at varying pH levels. At high pH, P is attracted to calcium, while at low pH, P is attracted to aluminum and iron. In both cases, P binds with these elements to form less soluble compounds that plants have difficulty accessing in comparison to P availability in the right pH range.
Nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) are also affected by pH, but in a different way. At low pH, certain elements increase in levels found in the soil. This allows them to take space away from nutrients like N and K in the soil, leaving them susceptible to leaching from the soil profile.
Maintaining proper pH protects your fertilizer dollars
With the substantial investment you make on your fertility program, it should be clear to see why maintaining the right pH is essential to protecting your fertilizer investment. Further, crops need sufficient access to these nutrients in order to deliver maximum yield and return more on the investment.
Traditionally, pH has been viewed as a 4-5 year program due to the slow reactivity of ag lime. With 98G, pH management can be shifted to a maintenance program with much smaller application rates (think 100-300 lbs/A) every year or every other year depending on your nitrogen fertilizer regimen.
By being proactive about your soil pH, you are ensuring that no fertilizer dollar is wasted and a maximum yield can be attained each year.