Potassium deficiency is more common than you’d think. Soil and herbage testing are the best ways to diagnose a deficiency. K-deficient clovers typically have speckling around the leaf margin, with deficiencies showing on older leaves first (see below).
DEFICIENCY IS COMMON
Quick Test (QT) K Levels – New Zealand 2009-15
The percentage of farmers with potassium defiecencies from 2009-2015, based on Quick Test K soil tests
THE BENEFITS ARE CLEAR
Dairy – When soil K levels are within the optimum range, pasture production is better. Having enough good-quality feed helps keep the herd in better condition which may help to support milk production.
Sheep and beef – Good-quality feed will help get sheep and cattle into the best condition for mating which supports in lamb and in calf percentages. Feed quality in spring supports healthy milk production.
Hay and silage – Hay and silage can easily remove in excess of 20kg K/tonne DM, so it is important that this is replaced after harvesting to ensure pasture production is not compromised.
As a rule, potassium is not an expensive nutrient. Like all nutrients, the price can fluctuate. However, on a dollar-per-kilo basis, it’s usually surprisingly affordable.
Cost per nutrient ($/kg)
Please note: prices as at 25/1/17
For more information about the benefits of potassium, chat to your Nutrient Specialist.