Potassium Chloride for Agricultural Use

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Potassium Chloride (MOP or KCl) is the most common potassium source used in agriculture. The colour of Potassium Chloride can be either red or white, due to its origin, but both are an excellent source of potassium because the colour is of no agronomic significance.

The raw material of this product is environmentally friendly processed in our brine reserves and is then transformed into Potassium Chloride (MOP), a natural, rich source of potassium which is very versatile in its applications for several crops and under various conditions. Moreover, MOP can be applied directly to the soil or in physical blends.

Potassium is a strategic nutrient which complies with several important functions in plant development, within the most significant functions, we may indicate the following:
  • Increase crop yields by promoting photosynthesis, accelerating the flow of nutrients, improving nitrogen assimilation and water use efficiency, among other factors.
  • Improving crop resistance regarding diseases causing stress and pests, high and low temperatures, drought, etc.
  • Ensuring the quality of a crop, increasing post-harvest duration, improving the taste, vitamin content and physical appearance.

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Main benefits of Potassium:

  • Develops more homogeneous fruit of higher weight.
  • Makes crops more resistant to drought and frost.
  • Increases yield and quality.
  • Improves water use efficiency.
  • Increases the production of proteins.
  • Increases the photosynthesis.
  • Intensifies the transport and storage of assimilates.
  • Prolongs and intensifies the assimilation periods.
  • Makes crops stronger and more resistant to diseases.

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Red or White Potash

Red or White Potash: is there any difference?
Potassium Chloride (MOP or KCl) is the most common potassium source used in agriculture, accounting for about 95% of all potash fertilisers used worldwide. Potassium Chloride is a naturally occurring mineral. These minerals were precipitated when ancient shallow seas evaporated over time.
The colour of MOP can be either red or white. Both red and white MOP originate from the same evaporite ore deposits, but the colour difference in the final fertiliser product is due to its origin.

The agronomic best choice?
One of the most important factors affecting the agronomic effectiveness of any fertiliser is solubility. Plant roots take up mineral nutrients via soil solution. Consequently, any material that is not in soil solution (soluble) is not very useful to the plant at that specific point in time. Since both red and white granular MOP are highly water-soluble, they are of equivalent agronomic effectiveness. Both also contain near equal amounts of chloride, approximately 47 %.

In short, the colour has no agronomic significance in terms of crop response as crops do not distinguish between red and white potash. The difference in colour is solely due to the presence of minor amounts of iron or clay in the red MOP.

A lot of markets have a preference for either white or red potassium chloride. Often the non-preferred colour is falsely perceived to be of lesser quality. Due to this market preference white KCl is sometimes coloured red but this has no agronomic value and is solely done to counter the false perception.

Whether red or white, MOP is an excellent source of potassium.

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SQM’s white potash: a purer choice
Brines, present in concentrated form in the cracks beneath the surface of the Atacama Salt Flats, are extracted from pumping wells that are strategically situated in various parts of the Atacama Salt Flats. After being extracted, the brines, which contain no clay or any other solids, are pumped to huge evaporation ponds. There, they rest under the desert sun, to increase their concentration through a natural and environmentally friendly way. The evaporation rate is very high, around 10 litres per square metre per day. Over time the remaining brines are pumped away and the salt is harvested.

The salts precipitated in the evaporation ponds are appropriately harvested and transported. Then, after crushing, froth flotation, drying and compacting processes, white potassium chloride is obtained, among other derivative products.
Production Process
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