This week in the Iowa Farmer Today, Tim Hoskins reported on “Mineral deficiency cropping up in alfalfa fields”. Iowa Farmer Jeff Ryan turned to Brian Lang Iowa State University crop specialist for Northeast Iowa. Mr. Lang worked out that the poor yield was due to a sulfur deficiency.
It is not clear in the story who recommended the solution, but it will be nothing but headaches for Ryan. Ryan applied 100 lbs. of Ammonium Sulfate (AMS), at a cost of $17 per acre.
Wow! $0.70 per pound of sulfur!
Then factor in the unintended costs of AMS. AMS is one of the most acidifying fertilizers on the market. It takes 5-7 lbs of SuperCal 98G, or 15-20 lbs of AgLime to neutralize the acidity caused by AMS. Add $5 to $20 per acre to the fertilizer bill for lime.
Don’t forget the unintended cost of stand reduction from the added nitrogen in alfalfa. There are many reports that show even 20 lbs on N on established alfalfa can reduce stands up to 2/3 rds. Add the cost of spaying weeds in alfalfa...$6-20 per acre? Add the cost of reseeding with today’s fuel prices...$30-50 per acre?
The cost of applying AMS could easily be over $40 per acre, for 100 lbs.
We think the best solution is SuperCal SO4.
Cost of 100 lbs of SO4 $6.50
Per pound of Sulfur, $0.38 (17% sulfur, in sulfate form)
We just saved Mr. Ryan 50% on his fertilizer bill. Still not convinced?
SuperCal SO4 does not have nitrogen in it. No unintended stand loss, no acidifying effects. The 22% calcium actually helps offset uptake of Potassium. Income from premium for low K alfalfa $$$? Income from higher feed value of alfalfa $$$?
University of Wisconsin studies show as little as 25 lbs per acre of sulfur can increase first and second cutting alfalfa yields by as much as 20%. Our research shows 45% increase in yield when using SuperCal SO4. Including SuperCal SO4 in your alfalfa fertilizer program assures you that your alfalfa has higher protein and feed value, and improves stand density and longevity, creating more tonnage.
Let’s review the choices, do nothing and continue to lose yield, apply AMS and pay $40 for 24 lbs of sulfur and have other problems to solve, Apply 200 lbs of SuperCal SO4 for less than $17 per acre, and create additional income.
Calcium Products, increase yields, reduce costs, higher quality alfalfa!
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!