In a past blog post on Silage I mentioned having poor OM (organic matter) can short your corn crop the number one nutrient needed for growth.
That nutrient is carbon, more specifically Carbon Dioxide. You may have noticed that CO2 has been getting a lot of press lately, but did you know; the atmosphere contains 400 ppm or 0.04% carbon dioxide, this present-day atmosphere concentration is just above "suffocation" level for green plants.
On a hot windless July day when your corn is in full tassel, it uses more CO2 than is available in the atmosphere. Where then can your crop get enough CO2 to continue respiration? It comes from having a quality soil that is high in OM and humus. As the OM breaks down, CO2 is released to be used by the plant for growth, making more OM in the form of increased plant growth and oxygen.
Here is a great article on CO2 from HighBrix Gardens, and why high quality soils are essential for increased yield.
An often-overlooked component in a plants ability to manufacture sugars is carbon dioxide (CO2).
The goal is to build up the carbon reserves in soil in the form of humus, so CO2 is released as gas during the growing phase of the new crop.
Iowa crop advisor Mike McNeil maintains that CO2 release and amount of nighttime buildup is a quality indicator of soils.
The greenhouse industry has known this for many years and regularly enhances the CO2 level in greenhouses to several thousand parts per million. The result: significant yield increase.
Older farmers will remember what happened when they cultivated young corn—it would grow six inches almost overnight after cultivation. Why, soil conductivity was increased and CO2 release was sped up. Combined these two factors caused tremendous crop growth.
Limestone is calcium carbonate, CaCO3. Not only does it provide calcium, it also provides carbon. Did you know that a 500 lb. application of high calcium limestone provides 190 lbs. of calcium and 60 lbs. of carbon?
Don't let high yields suffocate, applying SuperCal 98G pelletized lime, will help to build high quality soils, increase CO2 concentration in your fields, and increase yields.
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!