Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potassium: The Overlooked Crop Nutrient?

Date:
June 24, 2005
Source:
USDA / Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Is potassium deficiency limiting corn yields? Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientists Douglas Karlen and John Kovar think so, and they cite a shift by growers away from preplant tillage as a possible cause.

Young corn plants stand tall above the soybean residue from the previous year's crop.
Credit: Image courtesy USDA-NRCS

Is potassium deficiency limiting corn yields?

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientists Douglas Karlen and John Kovar think so, and they cite a shift by growers away from preplant tillage as a possible cause.

"No-till" farming has become an important agricultural practice because it offers such benefits as lower energy costs and reduced soil erosion. But the practice may have a side effect in causing potassium--which is naturally recycled as plants decompose--to accumulate in the surface soil where new plant roots cannot capture it, according to Karlen and Kovar. They're based in the ARS Soil and Water Quality Unit, part of the National Soil Tilth Laboratory at Ames, Iowa.

The scientists also question whether increased emphasis on nitrogen and phosphorus management brought on by those nutrients' off-site effects may have led growers and researchers to overlook potassium's importance as an essential plant nutrient.

ARS scientists started investigating the potassium problem in 2000 at a tillage research site initiated in 1971 at Iowa State University's Agronomy and Agricultural Engineering Research Center in Boone County. They noticed that corn and soybean plants grown in no-till plots were susceptible to slow early-season growth and lower yields. The region's growers were experiencing similar problems, according to Karlen. The scientists' goal was to find a way to overcome the slow early-season growth and lower yields while maintaining no-till usage because of no-till's other benefits.

According to Kovar, they found the cause through field tests in which dry fertilizer was placed three inches below the surface, enhancing early-season growth. Follow-up studies pinpointed potassium deficiency as the cause of the growth and yield problems.

Now Karlen, Kovar and the Kansas-based Fluid Fertilizer Foundation are in the middle of a three-year exploration study in which they're directly applying 30 gallons per acre of a liquid potassium solution during planting. The solution penetrates the soil to the root level.

In the first year, the treatment helped boost corn yield by 8 bushels per acre, and soybean yield by more than 2 bushels per acre.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA / Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Potassium: The Overlooked Crop Nutrient?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050619192555.htm>.
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. (2005, June 24). Potassium: The Overlooked Crop Nutrient?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050619192555.htm
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Potassium: The Overlooked Crop Nutrient?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050619192555.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins