Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Saskatchewan and the Potash "Mountain"

One of our day trips in Canada was to Saskatchewan. As we drove we could see a huge pink "mountain" in the distance. We were very surprised to find out that it was potash. Here's some info for those of you who may be like me and not know much about potash. I found this on the Potash, Corp website.

Potassium Is a Naturally Occurring Plant Food Element

Potassium helps cotton to grow long, strong fibers. Fertilizer K is often referred to as "potash". Early American settlers coined that name. They produced potassium carbonate needed for making soap by evaporating water filtered through wood ashes. The ash-like residue remaining in the large iron pots was called "pot ash". This process is registered as the first US patent.Commercial production of potash in the US began when supplies from Germany were stopped due to military conflicts. Carlsbad, New Mexico, became the hub of US production. Other production from brines was developed in Utah and California. Then, in the early 1960s potash from vast, high quality Canadian reserves became available. As a result, Canada now supplies about three-fourths of the potash used in US crop production.

Nearly every aspect of plant growth is dependent upon an adequate supply of K. Along with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), it is one of the three primary nutrients needed in large amounts. Potassium is a team player and helps to improve a plant’s disease resistance, tolerance to water stress, winter hardiness, tolerance to crop pests, efficient use of N and other nutrients, yield, and quality.

Here's a great site for kid's to learn more about K, N, and P: http://www.potashcorp.com/learn_about_fertilizer/kidsweb/index.zsp

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