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Potassium and crop stress

Crops may need extra Potassium when they under stress from drought or frost. There is a theoretical basis, and now GRDC funded research is looking into whether applying additional potassium is worthwhile when plants are under stress.

Getting the right combination of drought and frost conditions to get meaningful results from field trials is proving a challenge, so trials are having to run across many seasons. Some experiments have been running now for over six years. WA researchers hope to have some answers soon on:

Potassium (chemical symbol K) is an essential element for crops, and deficiency is more common than it used to be. Removal of K in harvested grain does deplete of soil reserves, and grain yield responses are almost always seen when soil tests show deficient K.


Richard Bell, Murdoch University, James Eason, CSBP, Liam Ryan, DAFWA.

Further information

GRDC: Tips and tools for potassium and micronutrient management in WA

eXtensionAUS: Using deep soil cores for Nitrogen, Potassium & Sulfur

eXtensionAUS: How critical is the critical level?

eXtensionAUS: Older soil test methods hold ground

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