Nutrient Removal for Almond

I have received a few inquiries about the nutrients removed for almond. Based on Dr. Patrick Brown’s group’s work (Sebastian Saa Silva and others), the amount of NPK removed with every 1000 kernel pounds of almond is:

Nitrogen – 65 lbs, Phosphorous – 8 lbs, and Potassium – 76 lbs.

This includes the nutrients removed will all of the materials exported out of the orchard in a typical pick-up operation – hulls, sticks, leaves, shells, and kernels.

Keep in mind that more than the above amounts may be needed to compensate for the inefficiencies of application and uptake (i.e. nitrogen uptake efficiency is somewhere between 75-85%, condition dependent — so to have 65 lbs of uptake, 76-85 lbs of N must be applied).

As noted in the comments below, potassium and phosphorous must be converted to oxides. This can be done as follows:

Almond removal
8lbs of P = 18.4lb of P2O5
76 lbs of K = 91.2 lbs of K2O

For Phosphorus
o Lbs. P x 2.3 = lbs. P2O5
o Lbs. P2O5 x 0.43 = lbs. P
 
For Potash
o Lbs. K x 1.2 = lbs. K20
o Lbs. K20 x 0.83 = lbs. K
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6 thoughts on “Nutrient Removal for Almond


    1. We think from previous research and experience that we are much more efficient in our potassium and phosphorous applications than we are with nitrogen. We do not experience losses of P and K to the air (I.e. NOx), and in most soils, these cations are harder to leach out of the rootzone. In saying that, we generally recommend applying what is removed with the crop. If on sandier soils, more K may be needed (+5% maybe?) as this cation does leach from the soil in high rainfall years or in over irrigated orchards. P most likely does not leach easily, its multiple positive charges keeps it stuck to the soil particle.


  1. Comment from Mark Davis, Great Salt Lake Mineral Corp.:

    “It may be worthwhile to point out that phosphorus and potassium fertilizer are sold on P2O5 and K2O analysis. I often get questions about this and its often confusing to many when we talk about removal in terms of P and K. If a grower is fertilizing for removal he needs to convert the P and K numbers to apply the correct amount of fertilizers…”

    Best,
    Mark

    Almond removal
    8lbs of P = 18.4lb of P2O5
    76 lbs of K = 91.2 lbs of K2O

    For Phosphorus

    o Lbs. P x 2.3 = lbs. P2O5

    o Lbs. P2O5 x 0.43 = lbs. P

    For Potash

    o Lbs. K x 1.2 = lbs. K20

    o Lbs. K20 x 0.83 = lbs. K



  2. Npk removed with every 1000 kernel pounds of almond that includes hulls, sticks, leaves, shells, and kernels.And we are fertilizing for this removal values.OK. But,preoccupy my mind that What happened to the needs of nutrients for the growth of trees ,how much does almond tree remove nutrients (N,P,K) for shoot,root growth and cambium expansion?Do I need to add these nutrients for growth in fertilization application.or do not need it on young bearing trees?

    Thanks


    1. Murat – the numbers given for nutrient removal on for crop-load is with the assumption that the orchard is mature, with full canopy. In the case of a mature orchard, all the major nitrogen sources are accounted for in the calculation – with the exception of leaves and roots. Leaves, however, are recycled back into the system, and therefore are not a major factor in nitrogen loss. Same thing in regard to fine root turnover.There may be some increased nutrient sequestration within the tree (~ 5lbs/acre??), but this is probably minimal in comparison to the demands of the crop load (85 lbs/1000 kernel pounds).

      In developing orchards, we are still working on nitrogen needs. Our best guess is that each year, as the tree develops, the tree will need about 25 lbs of N per acre just for basic growth functions until it reaches maturity. This nitrogen is sequestered into the tree and will be mobilized when the tree is in a need for N (bloom, leaf-out, etc.). Besides this “base” rate for developing trees, an estimate of crop load must be made in order to determine if more N is needed. So lets say that a third leaf almond orchard looks to bear about 300 lbs/acre, we know, base on crop removal values, that roughly 30 lbs of N will be needed to maintain the crop, and 25 lbs of N is needed for tree growth. In order to maintain nitrogen levels within the tree, 55 pounds of N must be applied plus whatever is needed to for the various inefficiencies.

      Keep in mind that nitrogen is not usually the limiting factor in young tree development; it typically is water. I do not think that excessive rates of phosphorous and potassium are needed for young tree development – or rather, I do not have data that suggests high rates are worth their costs. Probably somewhere around the 10-15 lbs/acre range for K. With P, in California soils, soil levels are usually ample enough for tree development and typically not needed.


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