Blue Bags Grow Better Crops

Phosphate and Potash; Autumn or Spring Applied

It's time to rethink traditional PK fertilisers- there is a positive advantage from applying in the spring.


Traditionally, P and K were applied in the autumn. However when soil P and K levels are at or above index 1, trial results prove that there is no technical advantage from applying in the autumn. In fact there is a positive advantage from applying in the spring. 

Providing that sufficient fertility exists, encouraging and maintaining root development to supporting early crop growth; a spring NPKS application, assists rapid uptake and maximum response to the application, because it is applied when the crop requires it. 

Spring Applied NPKS Fertiliser Nutrient Graph

New Trials Based Evidence

Historic trials conducted by NIAB/TAG (then Morley Research Centre), concluded that applying NPKS compound fertiliser in the spring, increased
yield on average by 0.3t/ha in winter wheat and barley.

This work has been repeated at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester and the new data has shown the benefits can be a 0.65t/ha yield increase, worth around £75/ha, based on Sept 2016 cereals prices.  See below for further information on this latest R&D.

Even if you include the cost of fertiliser, the financial advantage to using spring applied Heartland Sulphur is still an average of £65/ha.


Applied Crop Harvest N kg/ha Yield t/ha Diff t/ha Diff £/ha

Spring 2016

Winter Barley

217 7.7 0.3 £30
Autumn 2015 164 7.4
Spring 2016 Winter Wheat

226 9.6

Autumn 2015 190 8.6
Average Difference

0.65 £75*

Total N applied 200kg N/ha, 68kg SO3/ha; P K Soil Status P1 K2. Applied 127kg/ha P205 and 81 kg/ha K20, winter barley price £100/T, winter wheat price £120/T.

*Based on current fertiliser pricing (Sept 2016)

Tony Morris- RAU Farm Manager

"In the trials, Heartland Sulphur was applied as the spring treatment against straight P & K applied in the autumn.  There were quite obvious, visible differences in the wheat early on and later in the season in the barley trial."

Tony Norris, Farm Manager- Royal Agricultural University (RAU)

In addition to the yield advantage there is also a workload benefit, by eliminating the need for autumn spreading. Not only is this of enormous practical assistance at one of the busiest times of the year but savings in labour, fuel and machinery overall result in overall operational cost savings.  A typical fertiliser application saving is around £6/ha.  Reference 'John Nix 2017'

CF Fertilisers have got a range of products designed to be applied in the spring and developed to provide all the nutrients a typical cereal rotation requires for maximum benefit.  In order to find the fertiliser that best suits your needs, use our fertiliser selector

Benefits of spring applied NPKS fertilisers

Take this information away with you

Calculate how much of our arable spring NPKS range to order.


Use our compound calculator below to assess how much of our product you need to apply for optimum nutrition.

Options include Spring Application of our NPKS range, proven to increase yield by ave of 0.65t/ha or use the traditional autumn application of P&K with NS applied in spring.

Start by entering your Nitrogen requirement and field size below.

Soil Type: High P Low K : KayNitro® Sulphur

Soil Type: Med P & Low K: Multicut® Sulphur

Soil Type: Med P & Med K: Heartland® Sulphur

Spring Applied N:S

Calculate how much NS to apply in the spring, this can accompany the autumn application of P&K products

Autumn Applied P & K Product