Potash Fertilizer

If you want healthy plants, you need potash in your fields. If there isn’t enough in your soil, you need to add potash in your fertilizer blend. This nutrient is essential for plant health and growth. If it is not present at adequate levels, the crop will not hit its potential. Most soils in our area require potash to maintain high levels of production. Potash is essential for good root and plant development. It is required for strong, healthy plant cell walls. It is essential for water and nutrient movement in a plant. Plants that are short of potash are just generally not healthy. To grow a healthy wheat crop, the soil has to provide about 0.32 pounds per bushel of production. This means for a 60 bushel wheat crop there will be 19.2 pounds of potash removed with the grain per acre. If you remove the straw from the field for livestock, there can be up to 80 pounds per acre of potash removed. These are huge amounts over a 20 year period. Both canola and alfalfa hay will likely remove more than wheat, so having these crops in rotation reduces the soil reserves even faster. With these numbers in mind, it is obvious that the soil can be mined of its potash. It is important to add back the nutrients we harvest and it is critical to do this when we have taken out so much that the yield potential is decreased. Potash can be managed in a number of ways. Manure, of course, is an excellent source of potash, but it is hard to get enough manure to meet the crops needs. That leaves potash fertilizer as the main source. There is dry granular and liquid available. Cost and methods of application will dictate which form of the nutrient is applied. Spreading potash on the surface of the soil is the quickest way to get large amounts of potash into your fields. When potash was cheap, this was the preferred method. Large amounts could be applied quickly and the crops potash requirements were met for a number of years. As we learn more about the importance of proper placement for some of the potash required and we watch the price of potash go up, other methods of application are worth looking at. Seed placement of potash is the most effective way to provide this nutrient to plants. Too much potash with the seed will affect germination. If the seed is sensitive to the levels of potash and more is required, the next best way to apply it is in a band away from the seed. Larger amounts can be applied in this fashion and crop safety will not be an issue. Finally, broadcasting potash will work and the plants will find fertilizer applied in this fashion, but it usually requires more to be effective. Know the potash requirements of your soils. Soil test to determine what your soils need. Pick the right form of potash for your equipment and apply it in the right place.