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Potassic Fertilizers

Potassic Fertilizers

Potash is the third most important primary nutrient element required by the plants. Although crop-harvest removes more potash than nitrogen and phosphorus, the soil replenishes it faster than the other two. The deficiency of potash in soils is, therefore, not so marked as of nitrogen  and phosphorus. Deficiency of potash in the field is symptomised by scorching of leaf tips  advancing towards leaf margins and premature death of leaves even though enough nitrogen and phosphorus are supplied. Increased incidence of insects and pests attack and subsequent lodging of crop plants as the plants loose their mechanical strength are also caused by potash deficiency.Fertilizers supplying potash, the chief commercial ones are the potassium sulphate (50% K20) and the muriate of potash (60% K20). The others are relatively of very little importance.

On the basis of the percentage nutrient content, it is better to choose muriate of potash than potassium sulphate. Muriate of potash is also more suitable than potassium sulphate for acidic soils. Potassium sulphate should be preferred to muriate of potash for well aerated, calcareous (too much presence of calcium) and alkaline soils. In highly leached acid soils, where sulphur deficiency is suspected, the use of potassium sulphate can be justified. In both the fertilizers, potassium is utilised by the plants and the remaining portions are left in the soil. If muriate of potash is added to alkaline soil, accumulation of chloride may prove toxic to crops. Therefore, for alkaline soils, potassium sulphate should be preferred. Some crops are also sensitive to chlorlde damage (e.g., potato, tobacco etc). In such crops, potassium sulphate should be used.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.