Nutritional Keys for Sweet Corn during an Important Growth Juncture

by Jeff Yoder

Summer is here, and that means rapid vegetative growth in the Pacific Northwest. Many annual crops are growing fast right now, especially early sweet corn fields.

At this point in the growing season the corn plant is rapidly growing, maximizing its nutritional need for potassium. Potassium, being the most prominent inorganic solute in the plant, plays a key role in turgor pressure, water balance, xylem sap flow, and cell extension. This makes the rapid vegetative growth phase, and the fruit setting phase of growth the highest potassium demanding growth stages. Ensuring a sufficient amount of potassium is delivered to plants is key to maintaining yield. Corn, in particular, can peak out in potassium usage at over 100lbs of K per week during the V10-V12 growth stages.

Considering how potassium plays a key role in turgor pressure, stomatal control, xylem sap flow, and nutrient transport, the addition of soluble potassium nutrition to a plant leads to increased mass flow and increased uptake of soluble nutrition. This is why I recommend applications of soluble potassium sources during times of high demand, to help the plant keep pulling from the soil solution. Spoon-feeding K during these times is a great strategy to help ensure the plant has the ability to uptake the large amounts of nutrition needed to meet the demand.

This is a situation where diKaP™ is perfect tool. Many growers use diKaP™ for its abiotic stress reduction, through increased plant respiration and antioxidant production – and for good reason, as it does a fantastic job in this capacity. In fact, benefits of minimizing stress will come into play if temperatures soar later in the growing season, as often happens. However, don’t discount diKaP™ (0-31-50) as a premium nutrition source. The solubility and plant available forms of P and K are exactly what we are looking for to help boost the plants nutritional uptake during times of high nutrient demand. To understand more about potassium’s role in growth and development of plants, read more here.

The results of incorporating diKaP™ are easy to see in the field within a matter of days after application. It’s really an eye-opener for growers utilizing diKaP™ for the first time.  It’s also one of the most valuable tools for a wide variety of growers that I work with, for stress reduction as well as a highly efficient form of potassium nutrition.

Jeff Yoder
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