Nutrient leaching means you are losing money, says UF/IFAS Northeast Extension District Director.

Florida’s typical sandy has benefits for growers, including ease of tillage and early production, but it is also prone to nutrient leaching. According to UF/IFAS Northeast Extension District Director Eric Simmone in a VSCNews article, nutrients can be drained out of soils by rain or irrigation. See more information below.

Nutrient Leaching

“From a grower’s standpoint, every time you have nutrient leaching, you’re losing money. With that respect, all of the nutrients, you don’t want any to be leached,” Simmone said in the article. Nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous can be lost to leaching, which can damage the environment and eat into an operation’s bottom line.

Leaching is different all over the state, Simmone added. “From an environmental standpoint, you have different types of ecosystems. Some ecosystems are phosphorous limited, and some others are nitrogen limited. In a nitrogen limited watershed, you don’t want nitrate leaching. That’s going to be mostly North Florida,” he said in the article, adding, “In South Florida, the big ecosystem starts from the lake and goes down to the Everglades. It’s all about phosphorous. It’s difficult to paint a blanket situation of what is the important nutrient. It is on an ecosystem-by-ecosystem basis.”

It is recommended for growers to use soil tests a few months ahead of the growing season to see which nutrients are lacking and to have time to amend the soil, such as with adjusting the pH.

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