Section 8
Chapter 7,142

Comparison of mehlich 1 and mehlich 3 extractants for phosphorus potassium calcium magnesium manganese copper and zinc in atlantic coastal plain soils

Sims, J.T.

Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 20(17-18): 1707-1726


ISSN/ISBN: 0010-3624
Accession: 007141111

The Mehlich 3 (M3) extractant was introduced in 1981 to improve the efficiency of soil testing laboratories by eliminating the need for multiple extractants for P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Cu and Zn. The M3 was also intended to be suitable for a wide range of soils, perhaps to serve as a "universal" soil test extractant. At present, regional soil testing committees throughout the U.S. are investigating the M3 in this regard. Development of a field calibration data base for a new soil testing extractant is an essential, but expensive and time-consuming process. An interim measure is the use of conversion equations between new and current extractant(s). These equations allow for use of the new extractant with existing field calibration data. The objectives of this study were (i) to develop conversion equations for the Mehlich 1 (M1) and M3 extractants for Atlantic Coastal Plain soils, and (ii) to determine the influence of soil pH and organic matter content on the relative extractability of P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn and Zn by M1 and M3. Four hundred soil samples, obtained from field plots and commercial crop samples submitted to the University of Delaware Soil Testing Laboratory were analyzed for P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Cu and Zn by M1 and M3. Highly significant correlations between M3 and M1 were found for all nutrients (r=0.92*** to 0.97***) and, except for Cu and Mn, soil pH and OM did not markedly improve the linear regression equations developed for conversion between M3 and M1. Inclusion of OM in a multiple regression equation between M3 and M1 extractable Cu increased R2 from 0.46*** to 0.71***; R2 for Mn+(pH+OM) was 0.48***, relative to 0.35*** for extractable Mn alone. Critical values for M3 P, K, Ca, and Mg, based on conversion equations restricted to soils testing less than high with the M1 extractant, were 41, 49, 295 and 45 mg .cntdot. dm-3, respectively. For Mn and Zn, at a pH of 6.2, M3 critical values were 9.5 and 0.6 mg .cntdot.dm-3, while for Cu, the M3 critical value ranged from 0.5 to 1.1 mg .cntdot. dm-3 for soil OM of 2 to 8%.

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