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Webcasts Provided by Cotton Incorporated

Focus on Cotton

A Closer Look at Potassium
Deficiencies in Cotton

By Tyson B. Raper, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Cotton and Small Grains Specialist
Dept. of Plant Sciences
West Tennessee Research
and Education Center
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee

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Summary: In recent years, potassium (K) deficiencies have remained common throughout the U.S. cotton producing regions. As cotton yields across the belt continue to increase, it is likely that these deficiencies will remain quite common, even under ‘sufficient’ soil test levels. Practitioners must understand the role K plays within cotton plant growth and fiber development, how to properly identify the nutrient deficiency, and understand the most efficient ways to prevent or mitigate deficiency symptoms in order to increase the efficiency of the production system. This presentation will help consultants, county agents, growers, and other practitioners in the southern U.S. cotton-producing states to better understand the role and importance of K in cotton production and summarize recent research examining rate and alternative placement of the nutrient. Summaries of recent research suggest these deficiencies may not be mitigated by simply increasing soil applied rates or by banding the nutrient within the rooting zone. Currently, it appears the most efficient methods of applying K are still soil-test based, broadcast applications.

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