Phosphorus, Sulphur and Calcium are essential or important nutrients for pasture growth and pasture quality.

Phosphorus (P)

Phosphorus is essential for plant growth.

It plays a role in photosynthesis, respiration, energy storage and transfer, cell division, cell enlargement and many other vital plant functions.

Phosphate helps promote early root formation and growth, it is a large contributor to yield and profitability in pastures and crops and it assists in the transportation of nutrients.


Sulphur is used by plants to help with nitrogen metabolism, enzyme activity and protein and oil synthesis.

There are numerous trials that have shown increases in pasture growth through the addition of sulphur.

Sulphur is a part of every living cell and a constituent of 3 of the 21 amino acids which form proteins, and is an important constituent of enzymes and vitamins (thiamin and biotin).

It is essential for nitrogen fixation in legumes, and is also necessary for chlorophyll formation.


Calcium is also important in root and shoot stimulation, helps with the mechanical strength of the plant (integrity and selectivity of cell membranes), activates several enzyme systems, helps neutralize organic acids within the plant, is essential for good seed set in subterranean clovers.

It can also help stimulate microbial activity and molybdenum availability.


Various micronutrients are important to pasture growth depending on the time of year, both from a plant production and an animal health perspective.

Copper, zinc, boron and molybdenum are all important micronutrients for pastures, and as they usually only appear in soils as trace elements.

Leaf tissue testing delivers a more accurate status of these elements than soil testing.

Next steps

To find out if your pasture is getting the nutrients it needs, test your soil and plan a fertility program that considers the history of the block and the yields you’d like to see.