Agriculture and Trace Elements: the Importance of Soil Analysis and Testing for Australian Growers
Soil Analysis and Testing by Phosyn
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As agricultural opportunities for improved yield and quality increase, and agricultural techniques evolve, the nutrient reserves in the soil are continually depleted. If these nutrients are not replaced regularly growth, health, and yield will decline. Accurate soil analysis and testing helps identify the nutrients, and levels, which need to be replenished. This applies not only to nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, but also to other nutrients which are just as essential (although usually required in smaller quantities) which are known as trace elements. These trace elements include: calcium, manganese, copper, potash, iron, magnesium, phosphate, molybdenum, zinc, and boron. Each of these elements influences the others and balance must be maintained to ensure healthy and efficient growth.
It is important to have an accurate reading on the presence of these trace elements (obtained through laboratory soil analysis and testing) because all these elements interact and influence each other to a considerable extent. Heavy applications of one element may result in the depression in the availability of another element and nutrient balance can easily be upset. For instance, if too much nitrogen is applied, it will result in the reduction of the availability of copper. Therefore, over fertilisation with the goal of increasing yield can induce deficiencies in other essential nutrients, which in turn reduces the response to a particular fertiliser and actually results in limited yield. A regular soil analysis and testing regime is an important step toward providing a properly balanced and highly available supply of all essential plant nutrients.
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