If nitrogen helps build the plant’s engine, then potassium can be thought of as the fuel for the engine. That analogy is shared by Tommy Roach, vice president of product development at NACHURS.
As the 2019 crop progresses, Roach is encouraging farmers to help their crops be powered by the biggest engine possible and then choosing a good fuel with adequate plant-available potassium..
“Potassium is a nutrient that moves everything around in the plant, which helps it tolerate stress—whether it be heat, too much water, or too little water,” Roach explains. “Providing potassium in a balanced nutrition program is the perfect way to help the crop get started and then progress with a strong finish at the end.”
From the NACHURS perspective, Roach reports they saw a slight uptick in gallons of product sold for starter fertilizer for 2019 planting. And he’s continuing to encourage farmers to not pull back on inputs and to keep chasing yield.
“There’s a common misconception that there is ample potassium in the field based on soil tests, but the vast majority of that potassium is not available to the plant this growing season,” Roach says.
Five years ago, NACHURS launched its potassium acetate line with the Bio-k brand. Roach says the optimum timing for potassium uptake is between V4 and right before tassel.
“In a sidedress application, it’s the perfect time to combine potassium with nitrogen as you’re going across the field,” he says. “Our products are also extremely compatible with crop protection tank mixes.”
He also encourages retailers and farmers to evaluate a potassium source as part of a fertigation program.
“You need to do everything you can to keep the plant’s motor running,” he says. “Come harvest, you’ll see the benefits with improved standability, quicker dry down, and greater yield.”