Don't Forget the Phosphorus!

Feb 06, 2020

It is that time of the year to be putting fertilizer on brome. When turning in maps or talking with your agronomist, remember to put phosphorus fertilizer with your nitrogen. Brome is a cool season grass that will be greening up and putting on tons as soon as the weather starts to get warmer in March. Brome removes around 30 pounds of nitrogen and 12 pounds of phosphorus per ton of hay according to K-State. A typical fertilized brome field will yield around 2.5 to 3 tons per acre. The best time to put phosphorus on brome is in the fall but with harvest and wheat planting, it is hard to find time to fertilize brome. Winter and early spring phosphorus applications work too and will help the brome the next fall to tiller and overwinter.

Last spring I noticed quite a few brome fields that had purple color and were shorter. While other fields and waterways nearby had lots of growth and good green color. I took soil samples and tissue samples of the poor brome and then of a different field that had good brome. What I found was the poor brome had very low phosphorus levels, around 7 ppm, and the good brome was around 28 ppm, which is at a sufficient level. The tissue samples told a similar story, the good brome was at a marginal level and the poor brome was at a deficient level.

A good recommendation for brome fertilizer is 75 to 100 pounds of nitrogen and 20 to 30 pounds of phosphorus. I know spending money on hay can be tough but phosphorus can make a huge difference in tons and quality of your brome. If you are unsure of your phosphorus levels, contact your local Agri Trails agronomist to take a soil sample and determine if you could benefit from adding phosphorus to your brome fertilizer this spring.

Aaron Brinkman
ATC Agronomist

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