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July 13, 2015

Drought Conditions Causing Soil Salinity Concerns for Growers


After three consecutive years of drought, California farmers can easily see the impact on agriculture. Now more than ever, growers need to combat numerous root-level challenges that come with severely dry conditions. While salinity is usually a top-of-mind issue for crop health, drought conditions can quickly accelerate salinity problems in soils. High salinity levels can cause lower productivity and performance – with a real impact on profits.

Drought drives high salinity

Soil salinity levels increase during extended drought periods because less water is available to leach salts (salt already present in soil), which can lead to an abundance of concentrated salt. When soil salinity levels are high, water in the roots is pulled out and back into the soil, depriving the plant of any available moisture and causing potential loss in growth and productivity.

How do specialty crops respond to soil salinity?

Because almonds and other tree nuts are sensitive to soil salinity, they can be especially impacted by increasing salinity levels. And, while no one can control the rainfall (or lack thereof), growers can minimize the amount of salt and chloride in the fertilizer they apply. Specific to potassium, sulfate of potash (SOP) based products, such as Protassium+®, have a lower salinity index – with less than one percent chloride – compared to muriate of potash (MOP) containing 47 percent chloride. Protassium+, an SOP (0-0-50-17S) K source, provides growers with high potassium and sulfate sulfur without contributing to already high and potentially damaging salinity levels.

Protassium+ is the right K source

Compared to other potassium fertilizers, Protassium+ has virtually no chloride. With a low salinity index, Protassium+ gives crops an advantage, especially in salty soil regions, areas undergoing drought challenges or land having poor irrigation water – making it ideal for California growers looking to protect crop performance and profits during dry conditions.