Effect of leaching events on the fate of polyhalite nutrient minerals used for crop fertilization

Chengdong Huang, Uri Yermiyahu, Moshe Shenker, Alon Ben-Gal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Polyhalite is a natural mineral containing potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S) and is proposed as a fertilizer source for these essential nutrients. Application of polyhalite is expected to be most relevant in soils where the availability of these nutrients is low: in sandy soils, in highly leached soils, or in areas where crops are irrigated by water with low content of these nutrients or are rain-fed. A controlled lysimeter experiment investigated the efficacy of surface applied polyhalite as a fertilizer supplying K, Ca, Mg and S compared to soluble sulfate salts in two soils (sandy and loamy) with or without simulated rain leaching events through two cycles of cropping. In the first cycle, carrot response and nutrient uptake, transport, and loss through leaching were studied, while in the second cycle the residual effect of the fertilizer was considered on maize without additional fertilizer application or leaching. Polyhalite plus rain led to increased carrot yield due to augmented Ca uptake in sandy soil. In both soils, polyhalite behaved as a prolonged availability fertilizer with more nutrients retained in the top soil layer and not leached below the root zone. The treatments did not affect maize growth or nutrient uptake except for lower K and S uptake in soils where rain had been simulated for the previous crop. We conclude that polyhalite shows potential as a commercial fertilizer to supply K, Ca, Mg, and S nutrients under conditions of dryland agriculture where occasionally leaching by rainfall occurs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2518-2532
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition
Volume43
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Calcium
  • fertilizer
  • magnesium
  • nutrient uptake
  • potassium
  • rain
  • sulfur

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