Key Growing States See Declining Soil Potassium Levels

Soil Management

Key Growing States See Declining Soil Potassium Levels

eKonomics News Team

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Many key growing states are seeing declining potassium levels in soil tests, with many testing below the critical level. Why the decline? Experts from across the country discuss three reasons for declining potassium levels, and why growers should care.

Three Reasons For Declining Soil Potassium Levels

1. With more yields come more removal.

When we talk about exceptional yields, we also talk about exceptional potassium removal rates. If we think about potassium like an account balance in the bank, after years of withdrawals, we’re starting to reach a point where growers might be near that critical level and could see some yield declines.

2. More rented land. Less investment in potassium.

According to the USDA, over 50 percent of the ground that we farm today is rented. With rental rates being so high, farmers have less money to focus on fertility. As cash rental agreements are changed, a lot of the ground with change hands quite rapidly, most of the time not leading to build-up in soil potassium levels, but actually depletion.

3. Not enough money to go around.

The biggest barrier to building soil test potassium levels back up is that growers already have so much to pay for. Farmers have fixed costs (land, labor, and equipment), so many times they think of potassium as a variable cost.

Learn more about the importance of potassium for crop development and yields:

Even with Lower Crop Prices, Investing in K Can Be Very Profitable

National Testing Lab Finds More Soils Testing “Low” or “Very Low” for Potassium