A simple model of P uptake by crops as a possible basis for P fertilizer recommendations.

  • M. van Noordwijk
  • P. de Willigen
  • P.A.I. Ehlert


In the Netherlands the Pw value, based on an extraction of soil P with water, is used as a basis for P-fertilizer recommendations for arable crops. Using a simple, mechanistic model of P transport in the soil the Pw value required for adequate P uptake by crops can be calculated on the basis of daily uptake requirements, root area index, P-adsorption isotherms and total amount of P taken up during a growing season. Calculated Pw values for adequate uptake are in the same range as the present recommendation scheme based on field experiments. Possible refinements of the model are discussed. For each soil the Pw value can be calculated that corresponds to the P concentrations in the soil solution according to standards set to reduce environmental pollution. The model predicts that, unless the root area index of non-cereal crops is considerably improved, these standards cannot be met in the plough layer without affecting crop production levels. Calculations show that the present method of determining the Pw value yields a reasonable compromise between a measurement of intensity and capacity of P supply in the soil. (Abstract retrieved from CAB Abstracts by CABI’s permission)