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Review: Potash need assessment and use experience in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)

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Author(s): Aman Ullah Bhatti

Journal: Soil & Environment
ISSN 2074-9546

Volume: 30;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 27;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Potash | crop improvement | soil fertility | VCR

ABSTRACT
After nitrogen and phosphorus, potassium is the third major plant nutrient which is becoming deficient in thesoils of Khyber Pakhunkhwa Province of Pakistan. Responses of various crops to potash application and soilanalysis results of various areas of KP clearly indicated deficiencies of potash. In a survey of nutrient status ofdifferent districts of KP, twenty one percent of the soil samples analyzed were deficient in K, while 50 percent weremarginal. However, major areas of K deficiency are observed in Malakand agency, Swat, and Mansehra districts. Arecent survey of orchard soils (citrus, apple, and peaches) showed that 9% soils were deficient in K while 47% weremarginal. Usually the addition of K increased the yields giving higher value cost ratios (VCRs) and crop responseratios especially for cereal crops under irrigated conditions. Balanced application of NPK and Zn producedsignificantly higher yields of wheat on eroded lands in Swat and Rod-Kohi soils in D.I. Khan. The available datashowed that, complex fertilizers proved better than straight fertilizers. As regards muriate of potash (MOP) vssulfate of potash (SOP), the superiority of one over the other depends upon the type of soil and climatic conditions,and the crop. In D.I. Khan SOP proved better for rice, and equally effective for wheat and maize. On the other hand,MOP improved the quality of wheat regarding protein content as well as the uptake of K by maize and wheat,however, increased the chloride content of soil. In Peshawar and Swat, both the sources were found equallyeffective as regards yield without any accumulation of chloride by MOP at Tarnab but its application increasedchloride content significantly at the depths of 31-60 and 61-90 cm in Swat district. Use of potash needs to bepromoted as it is very important for improving the quality of crop products. As regards source of K, SOP should bepreferred for sulfur loving and quality crops, low rainfall areas and heavy textured soils. Use of the source of Kshould be site and crop specific. Future strategies for promotion of K should include research on K-fixing capacityand clay mineralogical investigation of benchmark soil series important for agriculture purposes, application of Kon the basis of crop requirement and fixing capacity of soil, mapping of K in addition to other nutrients in differentareas of KP.
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