My soil test shows adequate K levels. Is there still a benefit to apply any this year?

Robert Mullen, Ph.D.

Robert Mullen

Robert Mullen, Ph.D.

Nutrien

Director of Agronomy

To say Dr. Robert Mullen is passionate about agriculture would be an understatement. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in ag business from Cameron University, along with a Master of Science degree in plant and soil science and a Ph.D. in soil science from Oklahoma State University. In addition, Dr. Mullen has been published in a variety of scientific and trade journals. But it’s not just his academic accomplishments that make him unique. It’s his unwavering ability to take complex data and — in simple terms — explain how it impacts a farmer’s bottom line. Dr. Mullen delivers the kind of insightful observations that can lead to a more profitable business. As a leading agronomy expert, Dr. Mullen has a goal to further educate farmers on best management practices that improve their yields and maximize their return on investment.

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There are a couple of good reasons to consider applying K if your soil test level is considered adequate.

1) There is value in maintaining your current soil test level, so applying a maintenance rate of potassium fertilizer will allow you to do that. This even applies to high soil test levels, but obviously the higher your soil test the less likely you are to see a response to fertilization this year.

2) If your soil test level is very close to the critical level established for your state/region, applying K will ensure that more of your production area is at a level to support maximum production. Remember, a good soil test is a representative average of the area you plan to seed to a crop, and if the average soil test is near the critical, you likely have areas that would be considered low.

My video that discusses the reason to apply maintenance applications of K may also help you out.