pH Awareness Can Boost Profitability

pH Awareness Can Boost Profitability

A pH meter is essential equipment for all growers seeking to build productivity sustainably. Soil pH has a major impact upon nutrient uptake. The ideal soil pH for the majority of crops is 6.4 and at this level your soil will provide maximum nutrition. A low soil pH spells problems with the potential to generate excesses of iron, aluminium and manganese as they are more available in acidic conditions. Low soil pH also can mean poor availability of phosphorus, potassium and calcium and magnesium. These are increasingly expensive inputs so it makes good sense to aim for the ideal soil pH where they perform best. High soil pH can lead to poor utilisation of nitrogen and reduced uptake of the trace minerals, iron, manganese, copper and zinc.

The Ideal pH For More Flowers

A good waterproof pH meter will also assist you in determining the efficiency of foliar spray solutions. The pH of the diluted foliar fertilizer can determine a vegetative or a reproductive response. The ideal solution pH to encourage a reproductive response is a pH of 6 while a vegetative response can be encouraged with a spray tank pH of 7. There can be benefits from even more acidic solutions if you are seeking early flowering. The acid shock can spur a rapid flowering response in plants. There main reason being that reproduction and the sudden acidity is perceived as a potential threat to their existence so there is a frantic effort to reproduce. Try spraying your vegetative tomato plants with a 1:50 dilution of vinegar and household ammonia and you will marvel at the flush of flowers that will arrive shortly after.

pH for Chemical Efficiency

One of the late American consultant, Bruce Tainio’s greatest gifts was his discovery that glyphosate is much more effective at a tank pH of just 2.9. Most of us were aware that this herbicide worked better at a pH of 4.7 but this new information has seen some growers halve their herbicide requirements. This is of particular import considering the recent, shock findings relating to the unsustainability of the world’s most popular plant killer. A bag of citric acid is a handy tool to keep in the shed when you need to lower the pH of the spray tank.

Glyphosate is not the exception in this regard. All farm chemicals have an ideal pH where they are most effective. One would think that this information should be supplied on the label but it is not. Cynics might suggest that a selfish push for more profitability might lie behind this omission. If you contact NTS, we can supply a list of the ideal pH for the most commonly used farm chemicals. You will be surprised to learn how much impact and cost saving can be involved if you utilise this information. Dithane, for example, has a half-life of just 17 hours at a pH of 7 but if the spray solution is adjusted down to a pH of 5, the half-life becomes 20 days. A pH meter can pay for itself in a single day!

The Eco pH Meter Kit

This new addition to the NTS range was prompted by the need for a hardy, reliable, accurate, waterproof instrument. We have thoroughly researched the multiple meters available in the market place over the past 6 months and decided upon this unit. This excellent meter is now available in a user-friendly kit involving the pH meter, a soil testing jar, buffer solutions and an electrode storage solution. Features include the following:

  • Pocket sized
  • Waterproof
  • LCD display
  • 3 point calibration
  • Auto buffer recognition

The Eco pH Meter Kit is now available from NTS for $178.73 (excluding postage). Contact your local NTS Distributor to order or call +61 7 5472 9900 or email