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Potash status-A case study in Kapurthala District of Punjab (India).

Potash status-A case study in Kapurthala District of Punjab (India).

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Potassium is declining day by day from the Indo-Gangetic plains of India beacuse of it's excessive withdrawl, hence farmers should apply it on their fields based on the soil test reports.
Potassium is declining day by day from the Indo-Gangetic plains of India beacuse of it's excessive withdrawl, hence farmers should apply it on their fields based on the soil test reports.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Rajan Bhatt, M.Sc (Soil Science) on Feb 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Potassium- a Declining Plant Nutrient
Rajan Bhatt,
Assistant Professor (Soil Science) Krishi Vigyan Kendra,Kapurthala (Punjab)rajanbhatt79@rediffmail.com
is the third most important plant nutrient which is required by the plant for carrying out it’s different metabolic activities and to complete it’s life cycle. The issuediscusses the importance of potassium as a key plant nutrient and problems associated withexcess and/or deficiencies of potassium in the plant. Many plant physiologists conside potassium second only to nitrogen in importance for plant growth. Potassium is second tonitrogen in plant tissue levels with ranges of 1 to 3% by weight.
 As a trivia, potassium is theonly essential plant nutrient that is not a constituent of any plant part.
Potassium is a key nutrient in the plants tolerance to stresses such as cold/hottemperatures, drought, wear and pest problems.
Potassium acts as catalysts for many of the enzymatic processes in the plant that arenecessary for plant growth to take place.
Another key role of potassium is the regulation of water use in the plant(osmoregulation). This osmoregulation process affects water transport in the xylem,maintains high daily cell turgor pressure which affects wear tolerance, affects cellelongation for growth and most importantly it regulates the opening and closing of thestomates which affect transpirational cooling and carbon dioxide uptake fo photosynthesis.Unless truly deficiency occurs, potassium has very little effect on quality such ascolor and density. However, once potassium deficiency occurs, it can have a dramatic affecton the plants ability to survive and function during stress periods such as high temperatures,drought and wear 
. Initial potassium deficiency shows up as yellowing of 
older leaf blades,lower leaf blades, which is then followed by dieback of the leaf tip and 
 scorching of leaf margins as the deficiency problem becomes worse
. Once these conditions occur, wear injuryfor the turf plants will increase significantly. Factors which can lead to potassium deficiencyinclude:1.leaching in sandy soils or soils with low CEC values.
2. Sites being irrigated with water that is high in sodium and where high rates of calcium andmagnesium or added through the irrigation water or through the fertilization program.There are four different sources of potassium in the soil.
The largest soil component of  Potassium, 90 to 98%, is the soil minerals such as feldspar and mica
. Very little of thisPotassium source is available for plant use. The second soil potassium source is the Non-exchangeable potassium, 1 to l0 %, and is associated with the 2: 1 clay minerals. The Non-exchangeable potassium source acts as a reserve source of potassium in the soil. The thirdsoil potassium source, 1 to 2%, is called the exchangeable or readily available potassium andis found on the cation exchange sites or in the soil solution. The soil solution potassium isreadily taken up by the plants root system and is then replaced by the potassium on theexchange sites. A fourth source of potassium in the soil is the potassium contained in organicmatter and within the soil microbial population. This soil source of potassium provides verylittle of the potassium needed for plant growth.Potassium uptake is most rapid on warm, moist soils that are well aerated and have aslightly acidic to neutral pH. As soil temperature increases, plant metabolic activity increaseswhich increases root growth and root activity. Warmer soil temperatures also increase thediffusion rate of potassium in the soil solution which increases potassium uptake by the rootsystem. Excess soil moisture can lower soil oxygen levels which in turn decrease therespiration rate for the plants root system and thus lowers potassium uptake. Also, excesswater can increase the amount of leaching of potassium, particularly in sandy soils. Inalkaline soils, increased levels of other cations such as calcium, potassium and sodium canaffect the availability of potassium in the soil. The calcium and magnesium cations candisplace the potassium from the exchange sites on the clay particles and sodium competeswith potassium for uptake by the plants root system. Application of potassium fertilizer will be determined by factors such as soil potassium level, soil type, time of the year and useactivity for the site.As with any nutrient, potassium programs should be based on soil test results and it’s reportand only those filed having less than 137.5 kg ha
be selected to carry out demonstrations of Potash.1. Sandy soils or soils with low cation exchange capacity (CEC), will require light frequentapplications of potassium fertilizer as opposed to clay type soils with high to very high levelsof potassium. Soils with high levels of other cations such as calcium, magnesium or sodiumwill also probably require more frequent, light applications of potassium. When applicationsof amendments and/or fertilizers containing high rates of calcium or magnesium are used, a
follow up application of potassium should be made to the site since these cations can displace potassium from the soil exchange sites.2. As use of the site increases, so should the amount of potassium fertilization. During periods of heavy use, apply light, frequent applications of potassium to the soil.3. Spring and fall is the most important time of the year to make potassium fertilizeapplications.Potassium is a key nutrient in the development of new root growth. In the fall, plant tissuelevels of potassium are very critical in preparing the plants for winter survival. Low planttissue levels in the fall to early winter months can dramatically increase the potential for winter injury.Thus at last we can say that
is a key essential plant nutrient. In this connection, to prove the importance of Potash in plants, 14 demonstrations had been carried out by KrishiVigyan Kendra, Kapurthala (Punjab) at the farmer’s fields in Wheat and paddy crops fromthe year 2007 onward. In these demonstrations, first initial inherent soil fertility with respectto Potash was analysed and only fields having low Potash status were selected and in thesedemonstrations potash was applied @ of 50 kg ha
Demonstration 1. Effect of Potash fertilizer on wheat yield during Rabi 2007.
Soil Fertility Status:SrNo.Name of the farmers and addressVarietyDate osowingInitial Potash status(kg/ha)
1.Sh. Gurdeep Singh S/o Sh. Sunder Singh, Vill: KolianwalPBW-3439-11-07130.5 (Low)2.Sh. Jasjeet Singh S/o Sh. Hari Singh,Vill: Blerkhanpur PBW-34311-11-07129.5 (Low)3.Sukhwinder Singh S/o Sh. Mohinder Singh, Vill: Blerkhanpur PBW-3436-11-07109.3 (Low)4.Sh. Gurcharan Singh S/o Sh. GurmejSingh, Vill: Talwandi MehmaPBW-34314-11-0790.5 (Low)5.Sh. Mohinder Singh S/o Sh. KesaSingh, Vill: Blerkhanpur PBW-34316-11-07112.0 kg (Low)
SrName of farmerDate oDate of Effective1000 grainYield (q/ha)

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