Calcium Products - Organic Production
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Differences in organic manure?

Scientists at the USDA-ARS in Orono, Maine have discovered that dairy cows producing USDA-certified organic milk also produce different manure than cows fed in a commercial operation.  The results showed that conventional and organic dairy manures from commercial dairy farms differed in concentrations of plant nutrients, including phosphorus, metals and minerals. "The researchers found that the two types of manure had at least 17 different chemical forms of phosphorus that varied in concentrations. The organic dairy manure had higher levels of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. Organic dairy manure also contained more types of phosphorus found in association with calcium and magnesium. Such forms are comparatively slow to dissolve and would thus gradually release the nutrients. Slow-release fertilizers generally increase the likelihood that they eventually will be taken up by crops, rather than being washed out of fields into nearby surface or groundwater sources. Because of this, slow-release…
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Soil Quality - Your Life Depends on It

Your soil is the foundation for everything that happens on your farm. It is the number one ingredient for high yields. A true farmer thinks of his soil first and works to improve it. If you are just planting seeds, applying a little fertilizer, and harvesting a crop, you are not a farmer, you’re a miner. Before I get into it, let me say we are not eco-nuts. However you need to understand that proper soil fertility leads to improved yields, healthier crops and livestock, lower input costs, and higher per acre income. Even if lack of moisture is your biggest limiting factor! What is the cost of not properly maintaining soil quality? Soil should act as a sponge that holds and gradually release water back to the plant. If it is ponding, running off, or out a drainage tile, it is taking valuable nutrients with it. Having a quality…
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2008 Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference

This week I attended the 2008 Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference, held biennially in Denver Colorado. This program is put on by the International Plant Nutrition Institute and is attended by over 100 Industry and Academic Agronomy Researchers. Over 40 research papers are presented in this 2-day program. While the pace of the presentations is quite fast there is ample time to discuss ideas, and new agronomy techniques with many of agricultures best-known researchers. Jerry Hatfield presented “The Implications of Biofuels Production on Soil Productivity”. While removal of crop residue after harvest is viewed as a major source of cellulosic material, the implications need to be considered. Removal of large amounts of nutrients, decrease in soil organic matter, decrease is soil water holding capacity, leading to severe soil crusting and other environmental impacts. Mr. Hatfield has authored many papers on soil quality, organic matter and carbon. So many I didn’t…
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Why increasing soil quality is more important than new technology

I just read an article from Corn and Soybean Digest by John Pocock. The main trust of the article is that 250- bushel average corn yield will be the norm by 2025. If that is the average there will be above average farmers averaging 300 bushels. The story states that to attain those yield goals either more irrigation is needed or a drought tolerant corn will need to be planted. In order to reach 200 bushels a corn plant needs around 22 inches of water uptake. To reach 300 bushels the plant would need close to 33 inches of water uptake. The problem is that it usually only rains 16-21 inches a year in the corn belt. I have two thoughts on that, instead of a focus on irrigation, increase the water infiltration rate of your soil. Corn variety won’t matter if you soil has as hard pan 4” down,…
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Popular or Succesful Farming

Dan Davidson with DTN does a great job with is blog. If you haven’t checked it out I recommend it. His article “Mainstream or Sideline Agronomy” got me thinking. Mainstream agronomy has become popular agronomy. Popular agronomy has us thinking that if we use the latest and greatest, then we too can achieve top yields. While many of these products do a great job, most have forgot about the basics, and are failing to reach top yields. As the saying goes what’s old is new again. Many top growers are returning to the basics. Since no one has the patent on improving soil organic matter and bulk density, they do not get much promotion. Many sideline agronomic practices are really the basics that everyone has forgotten. I was speaking with a farmer at a farm show; he said that he was not getting the yield his neighbors did. He was…
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