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The Role of Phosphorus – Leaders In Farming Technology

Phosphorus is one of the three main nutrients needed for plant growth and development, making it an essential part of crop production. It is also one of the hardest nutrients to manage due to its tendency to become bound or fixed in the soil. With more than 50% of production acres shown to be deficient, many growers turn to phosphate fertilizer. However, even under the best soil conditions, only 20% of phosphate fertilizer is available for plant use, leaving an estimated 7.5 billion pounds out of 9.4 billion of applied phosphorus fixed in the soil annually. With only one out of six growers using a phosphorus efficiency product to help maximize that fertilizer uptake, there is a significant opportunity for both retailers and their growers to increase their yields and ROI for their business by unlocking phosphorus in the soil. 

The Role of Phosphorus 

Phosphorus is an essential macronutrient in the growth and development of crops. One of its significant functions is helping to capture and convert the sun’s energy into useful plant compounds. It also is a catalyst for many growth factors within the plant, including: 

  • Stimulating the development of roots 
  • Strengthening of the stalk and stem 
  • Improving seed production and flower formation 
  • Encouraging earlier crop maturity 
  • Helping plants achieve more uniform production and consistent quality 
  • Promoting healthier plants and disease resistance 

Phosphorus is needed for plant development throughout the life of the plant, with the most critical period occurring early in the season. Phosphorus deficiency often shows after corn is 24-30 inches tall. 

Because phosphorus is highly mobile in plants, it will move to areas where the most energy is required. For example, corn plants will move phosphorus from old plant tissue to young or actively growing areas where high-energy requirements are needed to form seeds and fruit. 

If plants aren’t receiving enough phosphorus, they may not display any visible signs until it is too late to correct it. Early in the season corn may show an abnormal purplish color in the stem if not receiving enough phosphorus, although plant genetics influence the degree of the discoloration.  

Later in the season if crops haven’t received sufficient phosphorus, both seed development and crop maturity can be affected, as shown by stunted growth and development. 

CHS Agronomy created a broadcast fertilizer additive, Trivar®, specifically for broadcast phosphorus application. Trivar, powered by the Levesol chelate, safeguards growers’ fertilizer investment by mobilizing phosphorus and other nutrients with three modes of action. 

To learn more about how to maximize fertilizer applications with Trivar, download our white paper, visit and contact your retailer or CHS Agronomy representative. 

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