Economics of Potassium Fertilizer Application in Rice, Wheat and Maize Grown in the Indo-Gangetic Plains

Potassium (K) fertilizer cost has increased considerably over the past three years. The sharp increase in price has raised doubts about the profitability of potassium application in cereals where the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) is low. On-farm K response studies in rice, wheat and maize, spread across the Indo-Gangetic Plains, highlighted that grain yield response to fertilizer K is highly variable and is influenced by soil, crop and management factors. Economic assessment based on projected cost of K fertilizer and projected MSP of the cereals also showed favourable return on investment for K fertilizer. Considering the high variability in K response, blanket K recommendations would most likely lead to economic loss for farmers due to under or over application in most cases. A site specific potassium management strategy, based on the expected crop response to K at a location, would improve yield and profitability of cereal farming.

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