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Potassium fertilization with humic acid coated KCl in a sandy clay loam tropical soil
Loss of potassium (K) by leaching after potassium chloride (KCl) application is common in light-textured, low cation exchangeable capacity (CEC) soils with predominance of 1:1 clay minerals, and is aggravated as soil K concentration increases. Potassium chloride coated with humic acids may be a strategy to avoid loss and supply K over the plant cycle. The objective of this study was to evaluate the response of maize (Zea mays) and soybean (Glycine max) to regular KCl and KCl coated with humic acid, as well as K leaching as affected by application of these fertilizers in single or split application to soils with different K levels. Field experiments with maize and soybean were conducted on soil with very low, low and medium exchangeable K levels, in Botucatu, Brazil. Soybean and maize grain yields were higher with a single application of coated KCl compared with regular KCl, in soil with very low K level, but, when the rate was split, yields were higher with regular KCl. This shows the importance of fertilizer K release synchronization as the plant develops, avoiding possible K losses by leaching in low CEC soils. Potassium leaching was observed in soil with medium K level. Potassium chloride coated with humic acids is an adequate source of K in low CEC soils with very low K level when applied in a single application at planting, as opposed to regular KCl that must be split. However, the coated fertilizer is not effective in avoiding K leaching in soil testing medium or high in K.
SR17214 Accepted 21 September 2017
© CSIRO 2017