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Have your agronomic questions answered by a Farm Journal agronomist. E-mail us directly at TestPlots@FarmJournal.com, and we’ll respond on this blog to provide an interactive dialogue.

What Exactly Is The Value Of Potassium?

Nov 19, 2010

Question: What exactly is the value of potassium to my corn crop?

Answer: In field crops, potassium (K) is important for managing water and standability. When potassium deficiencies occur, lodging can happen. Photosynthesis and respiration are also somewhat controlled by potassium. Because potassium has a role in water movement, it affects the movement of carbohydrates throughout the plant.Potassium is the activator in more than 80 essential enzyme reactions within the plant. It’s a big part of how a plant manages environmental stress. Fields that are low in potassium tend not to be able to handle stresses, such as drought tolerance, winter hardiness in perennial crops and resistance or tolerance to disease and insects.Potassium also is required for cells to maintain internal pressure, so plants don’t wilt.Plus, it plays a role in taking water into plant cells. The positive charges on potassium ions draw in the negative charges on water molecules. If potassium moves out of the cells, it draws water out.
 
The value of potassium versus nitrogen is explained here. Plus, find out how you can determine deficiencies in either of these inputs.
 
This blog is provided as an interactive way for you to have your questions answered by our Farm Journal Agronomists. E-mail your nitrogen, soil fertility, soil density, planter set-up, scouting, and other questions to: TestPlots@FarmJournal.com.
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