Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: September 2009
Calcium Product 98G


Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: September 2009

It Will Get Done

It is October 27th (my birthday), and I am acutely aware of the sizable acreage of crops remaining to be harvested in the Midwest. I think back to previous years and how we always strived to be done harvesting by now, but often ended up finishing closer to Thanksgiving. I also think about how we used to be satisfied (elated?) with a corn yield of 180 or a soybean yield of 45. Not in today's environment.

My wife occasionally suggests that I am a pessimist. I disagree, instead choosing the term realist. The difference is that I think the critically important things, in whatever you are doing, get done. Some of the less important ones do not. The ability to identifiy & target the most important things are what make farmers, farmers.

I am in awe of the diversity, aptitude, skills, and persistence of the American Farmer. From personal experience, I know that farmers somehow, someway, get things done, and done well. This fall will be no different. The harvest will be completed, crop nutrients will be applied, and some tillage will be performed. Will everything get done? No, but the things that need to get done, will.

A safe harvest to all!


Building Continues

The construction of our newest storage facility continues!

The new scale is in, though it will not be ready for service this fall.

We are looking forward to having more capicity to serve our customers!

  • Published in Sulfur

Don't let your well run dry!

I just opened my planner this morning, I have those Franklin Covey, day insert sheets so I can try and keep everything strait. One of the things I like best about it is that there is a quote on each days sheet. I like the ones from historical figures best. Today’s was from Ben Franklin:

               " When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water."
How many of us complain about all the rain, until there is a drought. What about fertility, its easy to complain about the cost of fertilzer, but when your yield is subpar, how much did not correcting those defiecenies cost you?
Fraklin was far ahead of his time, he new the worth of Gypsum as a fertilizer back in the late 1700’s. So will you wait until your soil is defiecient in calcium or sulfur to apply gypsum? It is likely you are already defienct in sulfur, 82% of ground in Iowa will respond to sulfur. But for years Iowa State told us that sulfur was not nessaccary to apply. For years they have told us calcium is not nessaccary either.
Did you know that when calcium levels are low (> 60% base saturation, and >2000 ppm) that nitorgen can leach calcium casuing further deficnecy? As calcium levels become lower soil becomes harder to till, crusts easier, drains more poorly, sticks to equipment, and nitorgen volitizes faster?
Don’t wait until the well is dry, keep your soil calcium levels up, applied chemicals and fertilizers will work much better, yeilds will stay high and you’ll sleep better when your not up all night trying to fiugue out why your yields are so low!

Another Reason to Avoid By-Product Gypsum

This article from 60 Minutes is very compelling. Many think of by-product coal ash as harmless, but the EPA is not so sure and the companies that produce them can't prove that they are safe!

Excerpts from the article.

Environmental scientists tell us that the concentrations of mercury, arsenic, lead and other toxic metals are considerably higher in coal ash than in ordinary soil. The summer heat can bake the ash into a fine talc-like powder that can wreak havoc on your lungs.

Asked if there are any environmental concerns, the executive told the mayor, "No, sir. We at Dominion Power are fully in compliance with all the federal and state regulations."

Two years later, an internal company study about handling the ash for the golf course recommended that workers use "impervious gloves" and "particulate-filtering respirators" due to "potential health...risks."

Coal ash disposal is regulated by the states, some of which have strict rules, some hardly any at all. The new head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, is reviewing whether the federal government should get involved by labeling coal ash a "hazardous waste," which would mean much tighter regulations and oversight.The industry opposes calling coal ash a hazardous waste. They're pushing for another solution: recycling.

Most power companies rely on recycling because it cuts the 130 million tons of coal waste every year in half. The industry calls recycling "beneficial use." "Ugh! Don't even… The only people it was beneficial for were for those utility companies that had to get that stuff off their hands because they were already in violation with stockpiling too much. That is what 'beneficial use' meant," Robyn Pierce said.

But the EPA in the Bush administration endorsed beneficial use and now coal ash is recycled in dozens of ways: as cement substitute, it's also placed under roads and in deserted mines and it's added to products from carpets to bowling balls to bathroom sinks.

While the industry says the uses have been studied, Stahl asked Lisa Jackson whether the EPA knows if some of the recycled products are safe.

"Schoolroom carpeting," Stahl asked.

"I don't know. I have no data that says that's safe at this point," Jackson replied.

"Kitchen counters," Stahl asked.

"The same," Jackson replied.

"Fifty thousand tons of coal ash byproducts have been used in agriculture. What's being done through EPA to look at the use of coal ash in agricultural products? Anything? Is there a study?" Stahl asked.

"I'm not sure that there's any study out there right now," Jackson said.

"How did we get to a place where coal ash is in products without anybody knowing?" Stahl asked.

"We're here, now, because coal ash at this time isn't a regulated material by the federal government," Jackson replied.

"But you're not saying they are safe. You're playing word games with me. You're not saying, 'They are safe,'" Stahl said.

"You want me to guarantee that…they're absolutely safe," Roewer asked.

"I think everybody…yes, I do," Stahl replied.

"Well, what I can say is the state regulations and the utility management practices are put in place to ensure with a goal of safe management of coal ash," Roewer said.

"I don't think many people really trust the utility industry, I'm sorry to tell you," Stahl remarked.

  • Published in Calcium

Calcium Magnesium Ratio

Cation ratios can help in identifying soil structure problems, and are a great tool for identifying problems. There is much research that has been done on the subject, most of which does not definitively show benefits to having the “right ratio” of Calcium to Mag. However many of these research papers also dicuss right N:S, MG:K, P1:P2 ratios.

Why are some ratios important and others not? Why are the proper ratios of nutrients important in animal and human nutrition and not in plant nutrition?

Research on Ca:Mg ratio was often based on total calcium and magnesium levels in a soil. The Mehlic 3 method of testing does not relate to the 'functional' fraction of calcium and magnesium in the soil, i.e. that proportion actively being exchanged between soil colloids, soil solution, plant roots, microbes etc.

A better way to truly determine Ca:Mg ratio would be to measure the soluble cations in the soil and take plant tissue samples. This would help to better determine a true plant available ratio. It is also important to point out that using Ca/Mg Ratios in isolation (without taking into account ppms) can lead to erroneous interpretations, calcium and magnesium levels can both be low, yet have an ideal ratio; or both can be high, yet have an idea ratio.

What is the correct Calcium to Magnesium ration?

As stated above, there is no definitive ratio, but our experience has shown that as long as the calcium and magnesium ppms are sufficient a Ca:Mg ration of 4:1 to 7:1 should offer a soil with better structure, better aeration, and better productivity.

Problems with high Mag Soils

Calcium is the element that causes the soil particles to move apart for aeration and drainage. Magnesium makes the particles stick together. One soil consultant has determined that is some soils the excess magnesium is held as trimagnesium ortho phosphate, Mg3(PO4)2-22H2O. Notice that the last part of the formula is twenty-two molecules of water. Is it any wonder that soils high in magnesium tend to dry and crack when water is tied up in a compound instead of available to plants? Note the two phosphates that are tied to the magnesium.

High mag soils cause potassium and calcium deficiency in plants. Soils with high magnesium tend to have poor structure. Typically these soils will have more sodium cations attached to the clay as well. Having high magnesium and sodium causes the clay particles to disperse when wet and set like concrete when dry.

The magnesium ions sitting on the clay surfaces have a 50% greater hydrated radius than calcium which causes these soils to absorb more water. This excess water tends to weaken the forces that hold soil particles to together resulting in less aggregate stability and greater dispersion of soil particles reducing infiltration rates and hydraulic conductivity (drainage). These soils tend to swell when wet and become very hard when dry, often forming a hard surface crust and becoming very difficult to till.
Excess magnesium causes a collapse of soil structure

Soils containing greater

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