These figures illustrate nutrient uptake over time by a variety of crops. They show accumulation of biomass, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur as percent of maximum uptake, relative to plant growth stages. Uptake patterns can change under different growing conditions. Estimated amount of nutrients removed by harvest are also listed for most crops.

Jump to the following uptake graph:

Small grain (wheat, barley, oat)

small grain nutrient uptake

Source: Malhi, S.S., A.M. Johnston, J.J. Schoenau, Z.H. Wang, and C.L. Vera. 2006. Seasonal biomass accumulation and nutrient uptake of wheat, barley and oat on a Black Chernozem soil in Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 86: 1005–1014. DOI: 10.4141/P05-116

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested portion of crops (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

Crop 
Unit 
lb/bu 
N
P2O5
K2O
Ca
Mg
S
Fe
Zn
Mn
Cu
B
— lbs —
Barley - grain
bu
48
0.87
0.36
0.25
0.025
0.05
0.08
-
0.0015
0.0008
0.0008
0.001
Barley - straw
ton
-
 14
4.10
30
7.6
2.00
3.8
-
0.045
0.30
0.01
-
Oat - grain
bu
32
0.60
0.24
0.17
0.024
0.04
0.06
-
0.0006
0.001
0.0004
-
Oat - straw
ton
-
12.20
5.8
33
0.40
4.00
4.60
-
0.145
-
 0.015
 -
Wheat - grain
bu
60
1.25
0.62
0.38
0.025
0.15
0.08
-
0.0035
0.002
0.0008
0.001
Wheat - straw
ton
-
14.50
3.60
25
4.4
2.20
3.70
-
0.03
0.11
0.007
-

 

 Alfalfa

 

alfalfa nutriet uptake curve

Source: Pumphrey, F.V, and D.P. Moore, 1965. Sulfur and Nitrogen Content of Alfalfa Herbage During Growth. Agronomy Journal. 57:237-239.

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested alfalfa (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

Crop 
Unit 
N
P2O5
K2O
Ca
Mg
S
Fe
Zn
Mn
Cu
B
— lbs —
Alfalfa
ton
48
11
53
28
5
5.5
0.38
0.11
0.11
0.02
0.02

Bean (dry)

dry bean nutrient uptake

 Source: Heard, J., and B. Brolley. 2008. Nutrient uptake and partitioning by dry beans  in Manitoba.  In Proc. of 2008 Manitoba Agronomist Conf. Heard drybean nutrient uptake poster PDF

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested dry bean (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

Crop 
Unit 
lb/bu 
N
P2O5
K2O
Ca
Mg
S
Fe
Zn
Mn
Cu
B
— lbs —
Dry bean
bu
60
3
0.79
0.92
0.18
0.06
0.52
0.03
0.004
0.002
0.0015
0.003

Canola

canola nutrient uptake curve

Source: Karamanos, R.E. 2013. Nutrient uptake and metabolism in crops. Prairie Soils & Crops Journal. 6:52-63.

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested canola seed (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

Crop 
Unit 
lb/bu 
N
P2O5
K2O
Ca
Mg
S
Fe
Zn
Mn
Cu
B
— lbs —
Canola seed
bu
50
1.94
1.17
0.60
-
-
0.34
-
-
-
-
-

Corn

corn nutrient uptake

Source: Heard, J. 2006. Nutrient accumulation and partitioning by grain corn in Manitoba. In: Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference Proceedings. A. Schlegel (ed). Vol. 11. March 7-8, 2006. Denver, Colorado. p. 180-185.

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested portion of corn (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

Crop 
Unit 
lb/bu 
N
P2O5
K2O
Ca
Mg
S
Fe
Zn
Mn
Cu
B
— lbs —
Corn - grain
bu
56
0.73
0.60
0.27
0.015
0.05
0.07
0.0055
0.001
0.0006
0.0004
-
Corn - stover
ton
-
19.8
8.8
40
5.8
4.5
3.2
-
0.067
0.33
0.01
-
Corn - silage
ton
-
9.7
3.1
7.3
-
-
1.1
-
-
-
-
-

Grass

grass nut uptake

Source: Hart, J.M., D. Horneck, D. Peek, and W.C. Young, III. 1989. Nitrogen and Sulfur Uptake for Cool Season Forage and Turf Grass Grown for Seed. Oregon State Crop and Soil Extension. No longer available online. Contact us if you need a copy of the document.

Estimated nutrient removal per ton of grass (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

 Crop  Unit N P2O5 K2O Ca Mg S Fe Zn Mn Cu B
— lb/ton —
Grass ton  25  10  38  7  2.5  2  -  0.08  0.13  0.01  -

Lentil

lentil nutrient uptake

Source: Malhi. S.S., A.M. Johnston, J.J. Schoenau, Z.H. Wang, and C.L. Vera. 2007.  Seasonal Biomass Accumulation and Nutrient Uptake of Pea and Lentil on a Black Chernozem Soil in Saskatchewan. Journal of Plant Nutrition. 30:721-737, DOI: 10.1080/01904160701289578

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested lentil seed (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

Crop 
Unit 
lb/bu 
N
P2O5
K2O
Ca
Mg
S
Fe
Zn
Mn
Cu
B
— lbs —
Lentil
bu
60
2.18
0.67
0.87
-
-
0.15
-
-
-
-
-

 

Pea

pea nutrient uptake

Source: Malhi. S.S., A.M. Johnston, J.J. Schoenau, Z.H. Wang, and C.L. Vera. 2007.  Seasonal Biomass Accumulation and Nutrient Uptake of Pea and Lentil on a Black Chernozem Soil in Saskatchewan. Journal of Plant Nutrition. 30:721-737, DOI: 10.1080/01904160701289578

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested dry pea (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

 Crop Unit  lb/bu  N P2O5 K2O Ca Mg S Fe Zn Mn Cu B
— lbs —
Dry pea bu 60 2.18 0.67 0.87 - - 0.15 - - - -

-

 

Potato

  potato nut uptake

Source: Heard, J. 2004. Nutrient uptake and partitioning by potatoes in Manitoba.  In Proc. of 2004 Manitoba Agronomist Conf. http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/afs/MAC_proceedings/proceedings/2004/heard_nutrient_uptake_potatoes.pdf

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested potato tubers (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

 

 Crop Unit  lb/bu  N P2O5 K2O Ca Mg S Fe Zn Mn Cu B
— lbs —
Potato bu 55 0.2 0.13 0.38 0.009 0.02 0.38 0.16 0.0001 0.0002 0.0001

0.0001

 

Sugar beet

N P K S biomass accumulation of sugar beet over time

Source: De, M., A. Moore, and R. Mikkelsen. 2019. In-season Accumulation and Partitioning of Macronutrients and Micronutrients in Irrigated Sugar Beet Production. J. of Sugar Beet Research. 56:54-78. 

Note: N application at or after canopy closure is not recommended (Malnou et al. 2006 doi:10.1016/j.eja.2006.06.002; Norton 2011 doi:10.1094/CM-2011-0829-01-RS; A. Moore Oregon State Univ. pers. com.). Nitrate taken up by roots during root bulking and sugar production reduces sugar quality.

Sunflower

 sunflower nut uptake

Source: Heard, J., and R. Park. 2008. Nutrient uptake and partitioning by sunflowers in Manitoba.  In Proc. of 2008 Manitoba Agronomist Conf. http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/afs/agronomists_conf/media/Heard_sunflower_nutrient_uptake-poster.pdf

Estimated nutrient removal in harvested sunflower seed (Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops)

Crop 
Unit 
lb/bu 
N
P2O5
K2O
Ca
Mg
S
Fe
Zn
Mn
Cu
B
— lbs —
Sunflowera
bu
28
1.06
0.32
0.24
-
0.10
0.08
-
-
-
-

-

Sunflowerb
bu
28
0.8
0.31
0.25
0.06
0.09
0.05
0.001
0.0008
0.0006
0.0003

0.0006

a. Fertilizer Guidelines for Montana Crops

b. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives – median value of range published. See source listed above.