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Starter nutrition trials increase pea and bean yields by nearly 20%

News - 04.04.24

Boost Your Pea and Bean Yields by Nearly a Fifth with Phosphate-Enhanced Starter Fertiliser

A breakdown of our research findings from Jim Carswell, Fertiliser Trials Technical Manager

Pea and bean cultivators stand to enhance yields by nearly a fifth by implementing a starter fertiliser with phosphate enhancement capabilities.

Our trials conducted over three years, span both vining and combining peas and beans. Sites with varying nutrient statuses in Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, and Oxfordshire we're selected.

The initiation of crop nutrition trials for pulses in 2019 was prompted by requests for more detailed fertiliser guidance from vining pea growers in the East Riding of Yorkshire.  

17% Average Yield Increase: Impressive Results

The trials revealed an average yield surge of 17% above standard farm practices. Of the 35 trials conducted between 2020 and 2022 utilizing Agrii-Start Pulses, 29 yielded a positive increase in yield, equating to an impressive 83% success rate.

Across 35 trials the average yield gain over the farm standard was 17%

Agrii, 2020-23 

Importance of Early Nutrition

As with cereals, establishment is known to be key to performance, especially in dry and wet springs, but early nutrition has largely been neglected. We can do better quite easily. 

The trials sought to build on the accepted understanding of how phosphate supports establishment. Although essential, typically just 5-15% of the applied phosphate is used by the crop.  Much is rendered unavailable by polyvalent cations before it can be taken up by the crop. 

Unlock Higher Yields: The Power of Phosphate-Enhanced Starter Fertiliser

Phosphate lock-up is a widely recognised problem on both high and low pH soils. 

Agrii-Start Pulses, with its unique formulation (0N: 17P: 19K + 19 SO3 alongside Ca and Mg), addresses phosphate lock-up, a widespread challenge across soils with varying pH levels.

By utilising a form of phosphate treated with a protective coating, this fertiliser enhances phosphate availability and accessibility to other vital nutrients, resulting in improved yields.

Image show the benefit of Agrii-Start Pulses on crops

The bigger canopy and root mass of crops that received Agrii-Start Pulses is evident. The first pods formed higher up the stem too, typically 3cm higher than seen in crops under the farm standard regime. 

Image showing benefit of agrii-start pulses on crops

Peas that received Agrii-Start Pulses had greater biomass and vigour. Yields were typically in excess of crops that received only the farm standard fertiliser regime. 

Further Enhancements

In 2022, trace element coatings were added to the fertiliser to support availability. The need for trace elements to improve root nodulation is well understood and there are five trace elements that have been identified as being fundamental to this area of crop growth.

What is not fully understood, however, is the quantities required.

Agrii R&D are conducting ongoing research to determine the optimal quantities required for optimal crop growth.


The crop nutrition trials for pulses were initiated in 2019 in response to requests for more detailed fertiliser guidance from vining pea growers in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The trials were subsequently expanded to include combining peas and beans as interest in these crops was growing on the back of demand for home-grown protein and a desire among many to extend the rotation. 

The higher yields were the result of a bigger root mass in the treated crops. This supported bigger canopies and higher chlorophyll levels in the plant.

The polysulphate component of Agrii-Start Pulses provided other physiological benefits which were consistent with what we have seen from its use in other crops.  

The use of starter fertilisers with phosphate enhancement capabilities, such as Agrii-Start Pulses, presents a promising opportunity for pea and bean cultivators to boost yields and optimize crop performance.

With consistent positive outcomes observed across trials, incorporating these fertilisers into standard farm practices can lead to significant improvements in productivity and profitability.

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