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© 1982, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


For most effective use of phosphorus, the fertilizer needs to be placed to ensure quick contact by growing roots and minimal contact with the soil.

Phosphorus (P) fertilizers are second only to nitrogen fertilizers in importance for growing crops in Nebraska. However, the principles affecting efficient phosphorus use are totally different. Nitrogen is a mobile nutrient both inside the plant and in the soil, while phosphorus moves very little in the soil. In addition, total plant phosphorus requirements are much lower than those of nitrogen. Plant leaves commonly contain ten times more nitrogen than phosphorus. However, phosphorus is concentrated in the grain so that only about 2.5 times more nitrogen is removed in harvested grain compared to phosphorus.