What Is Potash?
The term "potash" refers to a group of potassium (K) bearing minerals and chemicals. The chemical symbol, K, comes from the Latin kalium which in turn, is derived from the Arabic word for alkali. Because potassium is naturally reactive element to occur naturally, it is always found in compounds.
The dominant potash in the market is the compound, potassium chloride or KCl, a naturally occurring, pink, salty mineral for which Canada is the world's leading producer and exporter.
Potassium is the seventh most abundant element in the earth’s crust.
Western Potash core from Russell Manitoba Project
Fertilizer producers mine the potassium from naturally occurring potash ore deposits. These deposits were formed when seas and oceans evaporated, many of which are covered with several thousands of feet of earth. Once the ore is brought to the surface, unwanted minerals are removed in the manufacturing process. The product is then granulated for application.
Where potassium is deficient in the soil, the use of potash fertilizers can help boost crop yields and improve the quality of the plant. Potassium protects plants from extreme temperatures, it helps them to fight stress, as well as, disease and pests such as weeds and insects. Potassium stops wilting, strengthens roots and stems, and assists in transferring food. It activates plant enzymes and ensures the plant uses water efficiently. Higher levels of potassium in the soil helps crops withstand stress conditions. Often referred to as the "regulator" in crop production, potassium has a major influence on protein and starch formation, influencing over 60 enzyme systems.