Evaluation of Soil Potassium Test to Improve Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn


The soil potassium (K) test methodology is under increased evaluation due to the soil sample drying effect, temporal variations of test results and inconsistent crop response to applied K fertilizers. Ten on-farm trials were conducted in 2014 in eastern North Dakota to determine the corn response to different K-fertilizer rates and to assess the variation of soil K test levels between air-dried (KDry) and field moist (KMoist) soil samples during the corn growing season. Significant differences were observed between KDry and KMoist soil K test results. The ratio of KDry/KMoist showed high correlation with cation exchange capacity (r = 0.63, p < 0.10), Organic matter (r = 0.61, p < 0.10) and (Ca + Mg)/K ratio (r = 0.64, p < 0.10) from the 1 M ammonium acetate extractant, while pH, electrical conductivity, clay (%), and soil moisture showed non-significant correlation. On average, KDry resulted in higher soil K test levels than KMoist and pattern of deviation was different for surface and sub-surface soil samples. Soil K analysis of samples collected during the fall and spring showed large enough variations to affect the soil test interpretation category which was used to make fertilizer recommendations. Corn yield increased significantly with applied K fertilizer at only three out of 8 sites with beginning K levels below the current critical level of 150 ppm, and one response was at a site with K level above the critical level. Therefore, use of either the KDry or KMoist method alone may not be adequate to predict K response in some North Dakota soils.

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Rakkar, M. , Franzen, D. and Chatterjee, A. (2015) Evaluation of Soil Potassium Test to Improve Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn. Open Journal of Soil Science, 5, 110-122. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2015.55011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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