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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 79 No. 4, p. 751-755
    Received: Oct 27, 1986

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Effect of Soil pH on Crop Yield in Northern Idaho1

  1. R. L. Mahler and
  2. R. E. McDole2



Heavy application of ammonium-based N fertilizers on cereal crops has resulted in the acidification of soils in northern Idaho. The objective of this 5-yr study initiated in 1981 was to determine the effect of soil pH on the yield of lentil (Lens culinaris, cv. Tekoa and Chilean), spring pea (Pisum sativum, cv. Columbia and Alaska), winter wheat (Triticum aestivum, cv. Daws, Hill 81, and Stephens), and spring barley (Hordeum vulgare, cv. Advance and Steptoe). Data were compiled from 39 field studies conducted on Mollisols and Alfisols to produce mathematical models to describe soil pH-yield relationships. Linear-plateau regression models consisting of intersecting straight lines were fitted to percent maximum yield data for each crop or crop cultivar. The point where the two lines intersected was called the minimum acceptable pH for maximum yield. Lentil and pea were least tolerant to acid conditions, with minimum acceptable pH values required for maximum yields of 5.65 and 5.52, respectively. Cereals were more tolerant, with a minimum acceptable pH value of 5.23 for spring barley. The three winter wheat cultivars reacted differently to soil pH, as Daws, Hill 81, and Stephens had minimum acceptable pH values of 5.19,5.37, respectively. Even though Hill 81 did not have the lowest minimum acceptable pH value, it was considered the most acid-tolerant winter wheat cultivar because the slope of the line describing the relationship between pH and yield in the limiting region was less than those of the other two cultivars.

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