Each harvest comes with a degree of soil nutrient removal, depending on the crop and yield. Consider a fall fertilizer application to maintain nutrients in the soil after harvest and prepare fields for the 2021 growing season. Read on to learn how interpreting soil test results and strategic application timing can set you up for success next year.
Phosphorus is one of the three macronutrients essential for plant growth. It is required for the photosynthesis process, converting the sun's energy into food for the plant. It is also required for strong root development. A plant must be able to access phosphorus to ensure a healthy growing cycle.
Potassium (K) fertilizer is commonly added to improve the yield and quality of plants growing in soils that are lacking an adequate supply of this essential nutrient. Most fertilizer K comes from ancient salt deposits located throughout the world. The word “potash” is a general term that most frequently refers to potassium chloride (KCl), but it also applies to all other K-containing fertilizers, such as potassium sulfate (K₂SO₄, commonly referred to as sulfate of potash, or SOP).
Potassium (K) fertilizers are commonly used to overcome plant deficiencies. Where soils cannot supply the amount of K required by crops, farmers must supplement this essential plant nutrient. Potash is a general term used to describe a variety of K-containing agricultural fertilizers. Potassium chloride (KCl), the most commonly used source, is also frequently referred to as muriate of potash, or MOP (muriate is the old name for any chloride-containing salt).
Potassium is always present in minerals as a single-charged cation (K⁺).
The cornerstone of profitable crop production is a sound soil fertility program. Such programs require forethought and planning. One of the most useful tools farmers can use in soil fertility planning is soil testing. Planning a fertility program without soil test data is largely guesswork. Other factors to consider in planning an efficient fertility program are fertilizer rates of application, placement and timing.
Despite phosphorus (P) availability from geologic deposits distributed around the globe, widespread P deficiency in soils limits the growth and productivity of plants in many parts of the world. Because of this, growers commonly add this nutrient to their fields to improve crop yield and quality. Polyphosphate is an excellent liquid P fertilizer used to increase agricultural production.
Fertilizer potassium is sometimes called “potash”, a term that comes from an early production technique where potassium was leached from wood ashes and concentrated by evaporating the leachate in large iron pots (“pot-ash”).
Single superphosphate (SSP) was the first commercial mineral fertilizer, and it led to the development of the modern plant nutrient industry. This material was once the most commonly used fertilizer, but other phosphorus (P) fertilizers have largely replaced SSP because of its relatively low P content.
By understanding how nutrients work together, farmers can optimize production and investment in fertilizer while minimizing the opportunity for excess nutrients to negatively impact the environment. Potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) are two vital nutrients that create greater benefits working together than alone.
There are countless variables growers are forced to consider as they prepare for the upcoming growing season, and almost as many solutions available to counter the effects of these variances. Unfortunately, the list of strategies that prove effective across extremes is a short one, often leaving growers to manage reactively to the unpredictable.
Sulfur deficiency in corn can masquerade as nitrogen deficiency. Boron deficiency in soybeans may remain hidden — the only sign being a yield below optimal.