October 27, 2016

Threat of More Water Cuts Adds Salt to the Wound

Water Woes Continue

Although California’s major reservoirs are holding 2 million acre-feet more water than they were a year ago,[1] farmers will most likely not see an increase in surface water supplies for the 2017 growing year. The latest proposal from the California State Water Resource Control Board (WRCB) could instead result in a 10 to 20 percent decrease in water supplies, in order to increase flow in the San Joaquin River to protect endangered fish species.[2]

Additional surface water cuts may force the region to re-evaluate fallow acres, groundwater sources, irrigation, and growing practices.

Undoubtedly, improving water use efficiency is important. But as California farmers continue to look for ways to improve crop yields with less water, close attention should be paid to potential side effects.  Among those side effects are chloride build-up and increased soil salinity.

Effect of salinity on plant growth

Crops such as tree nuts, fruits, and vegetables are especially sensitive to high levels of chloride. With less water to leach the already-present chloride from the soil, chloride concentrations can form. Excess chloride in a plant's root structure will block the uptake of essential nutrients that are critical for crop health and growth.

Avoid this yield-stealing side effect by choosing fertilizers that do not contribute chloride into the soil. Protassium+® premium sulfate of potash from Compass Minerals has less than 1 percent chloride and the lowest salt index (0.85) per unit of K20 of all major sources of potash. In comparison, muriate of potash (MOP) has 47% chloride and 1.93 salt index, more than two times the index of Protassium+.

Don’t make your crops overcome excessive chloride, especially if you farm in areas with low water, high saline soils or poor quality irrigation water. Choose the right K source for healthy plants. To learn more about Protassium+, call 1-800-743-7258.

Watch this video to learn how Protassium+ can help protect crop performance.