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Implement 98G and SO4 Equations into Your VRT System

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One of our core beliefs at Calcium Products is to embrace technological advancements that aid growers in maximizing profits. We strive to integrate our products into these technologies wherever possible. One of our core beliefs at Calcium Products is to embrace technological advancements that aid growers in maximizing profits. We strive to integrate our products into these technologies wherever possible. 

Variable rate technology (VRT) allows growers to apply products at the right rate, right place, right time, and with the right source – the 4 R’s. Following the 4 R’s minimizes impact on the environment and maximizes a grower’s return on investment. We have worked for the past five years to develop, test, and refine product specific equations for 98G and SO4 to allow incorporation into VRT systems. 

Given the wide scope of the VRT software industry, we are able to work directly with retailers and/or software companies to make sure our equations are correctly incorporated into their specific VRT system. 

The best way to incorporate our equations into your VRT system is to simply reach out to me and get the conversation started. We will need to know which system you are using and who is responsible for entering equations. Once we gather this info, the process is generally very quick and seamless. We are happy to provide background on how the equations were developed and the equations themselves. We also offer calculators based on these equations that show how the equations provide recommendations prior to incorporation into the VRT system.

We have had tremendous success merging our product equations into customers’ VRT systems, which has helped put our products into consideration when talking with growers about maximizing soil fertility. We look forward to more of you reaching out to get this process started.

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How to repair sodic soils

Sodium problems are becoming more widespread

Sodic soils are one of the most difficult challenges facing turf managers in areas where they exist. With the rise of effluent water use for golf course and athletic field irrigation, sodium problems are becoming more widespread than they were in the past. High levels of sodium create a toxic environment for plant health and destroy the physical structure of soils.

Sodium becomes a problem when it reaches levels that overwhelm the natural equilibrium of the soil. It causes soil clay particles to swell and disperse, causing soil pores to become blocked, limiting water infiltration and drainage of the soil. Plants trying to grow in sodic soils exhibit symptoms of drought due to excessive uptake of sodium and lack of water infiltration into the soil where roots normally grow.

Check out our document on using SO4 and 98G to manage sodium affected soils.

Del Norte High School in San Diego, California

Below are before and after photos of Del Norte High School's baseball field in San Diego, California. After extensive soil testing, it was identified that sodium levels were at toxic levels for quality turfgrass growth and that the Calcium/Magnesium ratios were dramatically off. 98G, our pelletized limestone, was applied at 10 lbs/1000 ft2 every three to four weeks from June to November for a total of about eight applications.

Below: Del Norte High School third base line in June 2016.

Del Norte 3rd Baseline Before

Below: Del Norte High School third base line in November 2016.

Del Notre 3rd Base Line After

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Soybean Nodules Adversely Affected by Low Soil pH

Soybean Harvest

Soybean nodules supply plant available nitrogen

Nodules on soybean roots are formed by a specific genus of soil-borne bacteria, Rhizobium, which form a symbiotic relationship with the plant. The nodules fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and transform it into plant available nitrogen, while the plant supplies necessary nutrients and energy for the bacteria to multiply and thrive.

Typically, nitrogen fixation via nodules supplies most of the nitrogen that a soybean crop needs during a given year and additional nitrogen applications are not advised as that can have a detrimental effect on nodules. If there is nitrogen available from applied fertilizer, the relationship between the nodules and the plants suffer, ultimately hindering the ability of the nodules to fix nitrogen. It’s a costly move for both growers and the plant-bacteria interaction.

Nodules hindered by low soil pH

Nodule formation and performance is hindered by soil pH below 5.7. Many fields in the Midwest have areas of the field, or wide expanses with values at or below this level. The acidification from nitrogen sources applied during corn rotations continue to drive pH values lower.

When ammonium sulfate (AMS) is used to supply sulfur for soybean crops, a two-headed monster is working against achieving maximum yield. First, nitrogen is being applied, which can hinder nodule formation and performance. Second, AMS is the most acidifying fertilizer used in agriculture today, and that acidity can further degrade nodules.

SO4 – a pH neutral sulfur source

SO4, which is pelletized gypsum, is a pH neutral sulfur source. Its natural solubility meets plant needs for sulfur throughout the growing season. An added benefit is the addition of calcium to replace that lost in the previous season’s harvest.

Increased soybean acres projected for 2017

Due to various agricultural economic metrics, 2017 appears to be on track for the largest soybean crop ever planted in the United States. The USDA predicts 85.5 million acres planted this year, 1.8 million more than last year.

Soybean and nodule health will be more important than ever with the predicted increase in acres planted. Ensure you are making the best decisions for crop health, including nodules, to maximize yields.

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Rescuing Sulfur Deficiency with Topdress Application of SO4

SO4 vs No Sulfur

Photo above: 2016 sulfur trial on corn in Kanawha, Iowa at the ISU Northern Research Farm. SO4 applied at 150 lbs/acre (left) and no sulfur applied (right). SO4 application resulted in a 30 bu/acre increase compared to no sulfur.

Expect Sulfur Deficiency

With seemingly endless rainfall this spring, we can expect widespread sulfur deficiency as corn continues to emerge. The problem is that sulfate is easily leached from where the young corn roots need it in wet years. Sulfur deficiency shows up in the youngest leaves of the plant, and consists of green and yellow stripes in the leaves. Many confuse nitrogen deficiency with sulfur deficiency, and the most likely scenario is that it’s sulfur and not nitrogen since most growers typically put out more than enough nitrogen to meet crop needs.

To compound this problem, wet springs often mean that sulfur applications were skipped or postponed in lieu of getting seed in the ground during short windows of opportunity. Further, most sulfur sources that can quickly supply sulfur to the crop via topdress application have high burn potential.

Topdress SO4

SO4 is the perfect sulfur source for any application scenario, but the ability to topdress SO4 without any concern over crop burn makes it stand out against other sources.

Research conducted at Iowa State University with SO4 has shown that green-up will occur in less than 1 week with topdress applications up to V6.

SO4 Application Rates

How much sulfur you need to apply for your crop depends on your soil type. In coarse textured soils with low organic matter content, shoot for about 25 lbs of sulfur per acre (150 lbs/acre of SO4); for finer textured soils with 3% organic matter or more, application rates closer to 17 lbs of sulfur per acre should suffice (100 lbs/acre of SO4).

It’s hard to accurately predict where and when sulfur deficiency will occur, but you can save your yield potential and correct in-season sulfur deficiency with topdress applications of SO4.

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Meet our Updated Product Names and Logos

 

We have some exciting news to share! We are shortening our product names to 98G and SO4 and have created a new logo for each. Yes, we are retiring the “SuperCal” language in an effort to simplify the product names for more clear communication.

We are committed to growing brand recognition for 98G and SO4, and we’ll be updating materials over the next year.

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Aerification and SO4

Golf Ball on Aerified Turf

Aerification contributes to healthy turf

The most scrutinized word in the professional turf industry might be aerification. If golfers arrive to the course and see a “plinko” board on the putting surfaces, they immediately assume that their experience for the day is going to be ruined. This doesn’t have to be the case. Sure, it may not look good but that doesn’t mean they won’t play good.

Consider a story I heard about Tom Watson, eight-time major champion. Tom arrived at his home course and shot a course record 58, just days after the greens had been aerified.

What golfers don’t realize but superintendents do is that aerification is a necessary practice to provide the healthiest turf possible. This is a short-term disruption that has long-term benefits. The GCSAA explains the aerification process achieves three important objectives:
1. It relieves soil compaction.
2. It provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green’s roots.
3. It reduces accumulation of excess thatch.

Healthy roots demand oxygen. In good soil, the roots get oxygen from tiny pockets of air trapped between soil and sand particles. During the aerification process, cores of compacted soil and excess thatch are removed, allowing for the infusion of oxygen, and water to bring a resurgence of growth. The holes are then filled with sand via topdressing. Adding the sand helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for the roots to grow through the profile. Topdressing can also prevent an excess of thatch from becoming established.

Introduce SO4 pelletized gypsum during aerification

Aerification is the perfect opportunity to introduce SO4 pelletized gypsum in the process. Once the topdressing is complete, the next step is to broadcast SO4, then drag or broom in the sand and SO4.

Having a high quality, highly soluble form of dihydrate gypsum – such as SO4 – allows the calcium and sulfur to be plant available quickly, providing a much-needed boost to the soil and plant heath after a very stressful procedure. By adding calcium, it can help dislodge any accumulated sodium in the soil profile, which can then be leached away with irrigation or rain. Calcium is also important for soil structure, ensuring adequate pore space for oxygen, water, and root growth. Sulfur helps provide deep green color to the turf, improves density, and can increase drought tolerance and winter hardiness.

The bottom line is that aerification is necessary for healthy turf and incorporating SO4 can enhance the benefits and aid in a speedier recovery.

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Can 98G and SO4 be Applied on Frozen Ground?

Frozen Ground

We are often asked about applying our products on snow-covered or frozen ground. While it may seem intuitive that products should not be applied to frozen ground, in general, applications can be made during late fall or winter and have similar considerations as other times of the year, such as water and ground conditions.

When determining if conditions are adequate to apply SO4 and 98G, keep these considerations in mind.

Potential for water runoff

Water influences movement of surface applied inputs. When water has potential to runoff and not infiltrate, then perhaps applications should be delayed.

Late fall and early winter before the ground is completely frozen can be a good time to make applications. As long as there’s not a substantial amount of snow on the ground (less than 6 inches), applications of 98G and SO4 can still be made. If snow comes early, there’s potential that it will slowly melt and start breaking down the product, which will help disperse the particles of the pellets and make them more effective come spring.

Even if the ground is completely frozen, applications can be made before too much snow accumulates. An extremely wet spring with multiple, heavy rain events can lead to water, and thus, product runoff and off-target effects, so paying attention to long range forecasting can help inform application decisions.

Slow snow melt and ground thaw is the best case scenario for products applied on frozen ground. Even if there is some runoff, it’s not likely that all of the product will be taken from where it was applied.

Soil tillage

Heavy or primary tillage (moldboard or chisel plow, ripper) is not a recommended practice after application of 98G or SO4. Application should be delayed until after these tillage practices have already occurred, due to non-uniform depth of application and the likelihood that the pellets will be placed too deep in the soil profile to affect meaningful pH adjustment.

If ground is not completely frozen, then there’s still a chance for the product to start working its way into the ground. SO4 should always be surface applied and left to release its nutrients from the surface, so if some tillage is expected after the application, it may be wise to delay application until spring after ground work has been completed. 98G can be incorporated via surface preparation, so the same considerations do not apply to both products in this case – incorporation can also reduce runoff potential for 98G.

Field slope

Slope of the field should also be considered; relatively flat ground is less susceptible to runoff events and will have more leeway with late fall and winter applications.

To summarize, frozen ground applications are acceptable if snowpack and slope are minimal – however, the risk of excess water in the spring and significant runoff are always present.

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Let There Be Lime

In January 2015 Agriculture.com featured an article written by John Deitz, Let There Be Lime. The focus of the article is the how SuperCal products are helping producers in in Western Canada reclaim land and increase yields

Key Points from the Article:

  •  “If we can apply lime annually to a very small width of application within actual areas that need to be treated, we can drive annualized costs down to between 7% and 9% or lower than the amount the old methods would use,” Solberg says.
  • In 2013, ENR applied a 600-pound rate of SuperCal SO4 to about 200 acres of white, hard, grow-nothing land in southern Alberta that had 26% sodium. It harvested 80-bushel barley on the treated area.
  • The 400-pound applications of SuperCal 98G increased soil pH by about 0.6 and offered the best return – nearly 9 bushels per acre. Cost for the product and application was about $57 an acre.

You can download the article as a pdf

 

The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!  

 

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What is SuperCal SO4?

Over the past few weeks, people have asked is what is SuperCal SO4?

SuperCal SO4 is pelletized gypsum, however we put in a crazy amount of extra time and effort to ensure our products are highly effective. We call it the SuperCal Advantage and it consists of three components

Purity                          Particle Size                       Precision 

Purity

SuperCal SO4 is a true dihydrate gypsum mined from one of the purest sources of gypsum on earth. Many people think, gypsum is gypsum, however science shows us this is just not so. Check out this test from Pace Turf .

gypusm bars

We’ve also spent extra time and effort to test many sources of gypsum, and none compare to SuperCal.

Particle Size Matters

When it comes to mined gypsum, none are ground finer prior to pellitization than SuperCal. The combination of purity and particle size results in the highest dissolution rates in the industry.

Why I am telling you this?

Gypsum is a rock, and if you cannot get it to dissolve in the soil solution it won’t work. Gypsum, limestone and fertilizer all must dissolve in the soil solution to be effective! Large particles don’t react in enough time for you to see benefit from it.

We Pelletize for Precision

The reason we pelletize is to ensure our very pure, finely ground SuperCal SO4 spreads evenly for maximum effectiveness. With nearly 30 years in the industry, we have perfected a formulation resulting in low dust and precise spreading on every acre. Poorly applied product costs the grower yield.

A study from Virginia Tech confirms what the farmer knows, “The results of this research proved conclusively that non–uniform application of fertilizers resulted in less total yield than uniformly applied fertilizers even though the same total rate per acre had been applied in each case. The loss in yield due to lower than recommended rates of application far exceeded the slight increase in yield obtained from excess application over the recommended rate.”

clumps stipes  

 Whether its wet or dry, bulk gypsum won’t spread well.

The other issue with finely ground gypsum is drift loss. The chart below was developed from a USDA program that was developed to predict the motion of spray material released from various devices connected to an aircraft. Values and assumptions were modified to match that of a dry material in a rotary spreader in an agricultural setting.

drift

 Based on this work, you could see up to 25% or more drift from a bulk applied product. The finer and dryer a product, the farther and greater the drift!

Only SuperCal SO4 ensures you the highest quality, most effective product in the market, backed by over 20 years of success and farms all across North America.

Here is one mutli-year study by Iowa State. Wider yield differences were experienced early in the study due to application on known sulfur deficient soils. Regardless, the consistent yield improvements speak for themselves.

 

ISU Trial data

For farmers that demand consistent repeatable responses from their inputs, SuperCal SO4 is the only market proven product. If you still have questions, give anyone of our staff a call!

More Helpful Links:

SuperCal SO4 Product Page

More Test Plot Results

Product Videos

The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!                           

 

 

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