Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: April 2009
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Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: April 2009

Creating healthier lettuce

The darker color in leafy vegetables are associated with antixoxidants, which are thoughts to have many health benefits.  A team of plant physiologists at the USDA facility in Beltsville, MD has used ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to make lettuce darker and redder, i.e. healthier.

This may allow for the opportunity to improve the quality of food grown in greenhouses, especially during the winter.  It may also be used to maintain the quality of food already in storage.

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090518172659.htm

 

 

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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Could soil help us in fighting infection?

Could soil help us in fighting infection?

Historical anecdotes of the red soils from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan tell of people using the soils to treat skin infections and diaper rash. A multinational group of researchers suggest the healing power may be due to antibiotic-producing bacteria they have found living in the soil. This discovery may ultimately lead to new antibiotic treatments against harmful pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus. The researchers report their findings in the May 2008 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090518222202.htm

A reasons why soil quality, while hard to measure, is of huge importance.

 

 

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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Plant Growth Pathway Identified

Iowa State University researcher Yanhai Yin has identified a previously unknown growth pathway in plant cells that regulates plant growth.  He and his team examined signaling mechanisms of a plant hormone called brassinosteroids.  The hormone controls the growth of cells.

The brassinosteroids (BRs) have a major impact on how large the plant grows, says Yin. 

"Previously, we knew that steroids promote growth," said Yin. "In model plants like Arabidopsis (a relative of mustard) and crops such as corn and rice, if you have more steroids, you have more growth, and if you have less steroids, you have less growth and the plant is smaller."

Now Yin knows that the HERK1 (named for Hercules -- the Greek and Roman god who possessed superhuman strength) pathway, induced by BRs, is controlling much of that growth.

Identifying what makes plants bigger could have several effects, including improving biomass or grain yields, and forage yields.

If we can build a bigger plant, the importance of having enough calcium for cell formation will be significant.

Wonder what could happen if increased plant growth is combined with increased quality, such as provided with calcium???

Calcium Products, helping you build your plants.

 

 

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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Finally Did It!

In a couple of past blog's http://www.calciumproducts.com/component/k2/item/364-i-m-not-a-farmer-but-i-play-one-on-t-v  http://www.calciumproducts.com/component/k2/item/397-calcium-products-reading-list I mentioned I was reading The Albrect Papers.

I am happy to say I am finished. It's not that it is a bad book, it has tons of useful information in it. It just really reads like a technical journal article. I really do not enjoy reading journal articles.

My short comings aside, one of the more interesting aspects of this book are the experiments that Dr. Albrect did over 50 years ago. Many of his finding are now just being rediscovered.

Dr. Albrect had an experiment that showed what animals eat makes a very big difference in the quality of manure for fertilizer. Just today Glen Howell highlighted an experiment that USDA-ARS conducted showing that organic manure is different.

Reading the Albrecht papers was very forward thinking for its time. I felt like I was reading the future written 50 years ago. If you want to unlock the secrets of soil fertility and know what soil principles will finally be validated in the near future, pick up a copy of Soil Fertility and Animal Heath, by William A. Albrecht.

 

 

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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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 fertilizers often can be applied at comparatively low rates. Manure produced by cows in organic production systems may show similar characteristics compared to manure from conventional systems."

 Read more here-http://www.ars.usda.gov/IS/pr/2009/090422.htm

 

 

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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How Floods Affect Soils

For those of you that experienced flooding last year, you may be wondering how your soils will perform this year.

An article in Science Daily, discuss the impact of floods on soil.

Key Points From the Article:

Soil aggregation is an important soil attribute that is related to the physical-chemical state of the soil, and is one of the essential processes that determine soil quality. Loss of soil aggregation impacts agriculture by decreasing soil quality and crop production.

The research revealed that the aggregate stability of upland soils was decreased under reducing conditions from short-term water ponding. The decrease in aggregate stability reached approximately 20% during a 14-day ponding period, which is quite significant in terms of soil disaggregation. Changes in redox sensitive elements (increases in Mg, Fe), alkaline metals, and dissolved organic carbon (reductions in carbon) under reducing conditions contributed to the decrease in aggregate stability.

Overall, the aggregate stability of cultivated soils was more affected by the reducing conditions than that of uncultivated soils. This indicates that the management system plays an important role in the stability of aggregates.

The authors believe that once the reducing reactions take place in the field and disaggregation has occurred, the process will not reverse itself because the natural drainage will carry away the released chemicals and the chemistry of the soil-water system will not return to the original state. The disintegrated aggregates may clog the soil pores and further degrade the soil structure.
What does all this mean?

Soils that have been flooded need more nutrients replaced since more than N-P-K are leached. You should think about calcium, sulfur, zinc, boron, and organic carbons when looking to restore flooded ground.

Keeping you soil free of hard pans will help to reduce the chance that soils will flood. Don't work soils when wet and deep rip when needed.

 

 

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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  • Published in Corn

Global Warming and Corn Yields

How will corn production be affected by global warming?

An article by Timothy Telleen-Lawton, with the Wisconsin Environment Research & Policy Center, suggests some signifcant effects on corn yields by increases in temperature. Their numbers project a yearly damage in corn production of $1.4 billion, due to global warming.  Iowa is the most affected, with losses of $259 million annually. Follow this link- http://environmentamerica.org/news/ame/new-report-global-warming-will-cost-american-corn-growers-billions

However, there exists some skepticism over this report.  "A lot of the conclusions they draw really, really stretch the evidence," says Dr. Matt Roberts, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics at Ohio State University. Roberts says the study portrays "an unfamiliarity with the way agriculture works. The conclusion that the University of Illinois looked came to is actually very benevolent weather, that in fact the last ten or twelve years we've seen some of the most peaceful weather we've seen in the last hundred years," says Roberts. "From an agricultural perspective, weather is getting better." You can read more here: http://www.wrn.com/2009/04/skepticism-on-global-warming-driven-corn-crisis/

So which point of view is accurate?  We probably won't know without the benefit of hindsight.  I (Glen) believe that much of the increases in yield, are attributable to genetic improvements & crop breeding techniques.  But, as everyone associated with agriculture understands, Mother Nature holds the trump cards.

 

 

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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Nitrogen Availability

Did you ever wonder why you need 1 lb on Nitrogen per bushel of corn and your neighbor needs 0.5 lbs per bushel?

From Science Daily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511122416.htm 

"Contrary to the prevailing view, cereal crops derive the majority of their nitrogen from the soil, not fertilizer. Soils differ considerably in microbial activities that determine nitrogen-supplying power, and these differences must be taken into account if nitrogen fertilizers are to be used efficiently. "

Having proper pH and high levels of available calcium are two of the basic steps to increasing the biological activity of your soil.

Have questions about increasing biological activity, give us a call we can help you increase nutrient availability!

 

 

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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Pennycress: Do Farmers Want to Plant Weeds?

When I (Glen) decided to start farming in 1993, a neighbor took me aside and gave me some words of advice.  “It’s ok to not have the biggest yields, but it’s not ok to have the weediest fields.”  His words came from a lifelong battle with weeds, without the benefit of transgenic crops that we almost take for granted today.  However, a potential oil seed crop, pennycress, is typically labeled as a weed in today’s agriculture.

Pennycress is receiving attention in Illinois & other areas because of its high oil content.  Its seeds contain more than 35% oil, while soybeans typically have 16-18% oil.  This means that an acre of pennycress could produce 115 gallons of biodiesel per acre, according to www.growpennycress.com.  Another significant potential benefit is that pennycress is a winter annual, meaning that it completes its life cycle in the spring.  That may lead to the opportunity to produce two crops on the same area of land in one year, also known as double cropping.  If it happens, double cropping offers farmers the opportunity to diversify, helps in reducing crop sensitivity to weather, and spreads out the overall risk.

Pennycress.  Does it offer promise for the future?  Maybe, but there will be a number of associated challenges.  Agronomic, economic, and perhaps most importantly, social considerations will all have a significant impact on the ultimate outcome.

 

 

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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  • Published in Corn

Modified corn: Can It Help Overcome Nutrition Challenges?

A report by the National Academy of Sciences, www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/04/27/0901412106, shows promise of helping correct nutritional deficiencies often found in Africa, Asia and South America.

African lines of white corn have been modified by Spanish scientists to produce high levels of beta carotene, a nutrient critical to protecting eyesight.  The grain, which has an orange tint because of the beta carotene, also contains significant levels of vitamin C and folate.

"This achievement, which vastly exceeds any realized thus far by conventional breeding alone, opens the way for the development of nutritionally complete cereals to benefit the world's poorest people," said the article's abstract.

The scientists are working on adding other nutrients to corn, as well as breeding rice for better nutrition.  They are also working on adding other nutrients, including iron, zinc, vitamin E and calcium.

Will this be the answer to world hunger?  Probably not.  Could it be a signifcant improvement in nutrition?  Absolutely.

 

 

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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