North American Soils

A snapshot of nutrient balance trends and percentage of
soils below the critical level.

The eKonomics nutrient balance analysis is the industry’s first to annually assess state-by-state nutrient removal records, fertilizer consumption information and manure data. Findings reveal that a large percentage of soils are becoming depleted of nutrients at an alarming rate, causing many areas to fall below the critical level for K and P. Is your farm among them?


Percentage of farms in that area have fallen below the critical levels for P and K. < 20 ppm of P is considered below the critical level for phosphorus in majority of areas. < 120 ppm of K is considered below the critical level for potassium in majority of areas.

Province P K
Alberta 61 51
Manitoba 62 34
New Brunswick 10 56
Nova Scotia 7 42
Ontario 39 54
Prince Edward Island 33 72
Quebec 63 63
Saskatchewan 81 25
United States
State P K
Alabama 57 74
Arizona 38 13
Arkansas 71 47
California 45 18
Colorado 57 9
Connecticut 16 59
Delaware 12 37
Florida 41 75
Georgia 48 85
Idaho 29 9
Illinois 39 36
Indiana 29 25
Iowa 45 40
Kansas 47 19
Kentucky 50 73
Louisiana 83 70
Maine 37 60
Maryland 47 19
Massachusetts 6 63
Michigan 35 62
Minnesota 47 47
Mississippi 55 57
Missouri 54 27
Montana 65 8
Nebraska 35 9
Nevada 21 8
New Hampshire 27 70
New Jersey 15 28
New Mexico 35 8
New York 41 34
North Carolina 28 69
North Dakota 83 16
Ohio 48 35
Oklahoma 73 34
Oregon 30 28
Pennsylvania 21 29
Rhode Island
South Carolina 35 85
South Dakota 65 20
Tennessee 58 43
Texas 73 20
Vermont 74 77
Virginia 40 53
Washington 25 25
West Virginia 63 15
Wisconsin 48 65
Wyoming 74 25

Nutrient Balance Trends Sources:

1.) USDA-NASS: P2O5 and K2O nutrient removal obtained from harvested tonnage of crops from each state. Manure applied nutrients subtracted from harvest removal.

2.) AAPFCO: Fertilizer consumption data subtracted from the removal information to obtain a mass balance of nutrient levels for each year for each state. “Commercial Fertilizers 2014” is available; all earlier versions are still available. National fertilizer use data are available in a hard-copy publication, “Commercial Fertilizers 2014”, which is available from The Fertilizer Institute (TFI). The Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO), in partnership with TFI, has published the 2014 edition of the Commercial Fertilizer Report.

Percentage of Soils Below the Critical Level Sources:

International Plant Nutrition Institute: Data presented is based upon percent of samples testing below established critical levels for P and K for major crops in 2015. This includes results of P and K analysis performed on approximately 4.4 million soil samples. Critical Bray P1 equivalent levels for the soils and crops of the Great Plains and Corn Belt are usually around 20 ppm and increase to 25 to 50 ppm for the eastern U.S. Critical ammonium acetate K equivalent levels are generally in the 120 to 200 ppm range. Some crops may require substantially higher soil test levels than the critical level used in this analysis (consult your local university/agronomist for more information).

Important to Note: Soil testing is statewide and can differ within regions of every state and province. Nutrient management should occur on a site-specific basis where management objectives and the needs of individual fields and, in many cases, areas within fields, are recognized. Therefore, a general soil test summary like this one cannot reflect the specific needs of individual farms. Its value lies in calling attention to broad nutrient needs, trends, and challenges, and in motivating educational and action programs that are in turn relevant to growers and their advisers.