Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: February 2012
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Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: February 2012

This weekend’s event

Due to legal issues, the event Calcium Products has been planning (to be held March 30-31, 2012) will now be referred to as The Summit.

Pre-registration is no longer available. Tickets will be sold at the door. We will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday. Both days are scheduled to be held at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

All updates about the event will be posted right here. Please stay tuned.

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Too early to apply?

WOW, what a treat! Most of America is enjoying a very warm, early spring! I know everyone is itching to get outdoors and kick off the season. While it is still too early in most parts north of the Mason-Dixon line to begin your early spring fertilizations, it is never too early to begin spreading SuperCal SO4.

SuperCal SO4

One of the great characteristics of organic, all-natural products is not having to depend on mother nature for an application schedule. Take our SuperCal SO4, for example. It is a naturally mined, organic material that works beautifully with any fertility program. You can apply it any time throughout the year. You don’t have to wait for the frost to be out of the ground, you don’t have to wait for the ground temperature to hit a magical degree in order for the product to work. Our SuperCal SO4 can be applied, left alone and forgotten. As soon as the spring thaw begins or that first April shower (March this year?) hits, the SuperCal SO4 pellet will melt and the calcium and sulfur will begin to work.

Another benefit of SuperCal SO4 being a safe, all natural organic product is that it will not burn or damage your turf no matter how much you apply or when you apply. If you are working to create the best soil structure possible for growing the best turf of the season, now is the time to apply SuperCal SO4.

For more info, check out this PDF on SO4.

 

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Using Gypsum in Center-Pivot Irrigation and Fertigation

We currently do not recommend SuperCal SO4 for fertigation since is it is only crushed to 70% passing 100 mesh, so we cannot guarantee that it will pass though all irrigation openings. With that said we are aware of some farmers that are doing this practice and we have received a number of phone calls from other farmers interested in this process this year.

Fertigation with gypsum

Applying fertilizers such as gypsum through a center pivot irrigation system affords many benefits to the crop, soil and grower. It is required that the fertilizer being used is fully soluble and/or will stay in suspension during the irrigation process. Mixtures of gypsum and water may have to be agitated for up to an hour to assure that the gypsum is fully solubilized and is in suspension. Continued agitation through the irrigation process is recommended.   

The practical challenges of injecting gypsum relate to plugging up the system. The most immediate incidence of gypsum plugging occurs either when more gypsum is injected than can be dissolved into the irrigation stream or when not enough time is allowed between the injection of the slurry and its arrival at the system filter. In either case undissolved gypsum coats the filter and plugs it. This can be overcome by reducing the concentration rate of the injection and, when possible, by moving the injection point farther upstream from the filter.

Perhaps the most common plugging problem associated with gypsum injections is lime scale formation. Lime scale (calcium carbonate) is formed when calcium ions (either naturally present in the source water or added as calcium sulfate in gypsum) combine with naturally occurring bicarbonates in the water.

Water quality is also important in maintaining the solubility of the fertilizers. When we dissolve gypsum into water that contains appreciable (100 mg/L or greater) amounts of bicarbonates and has a pH of 7.0 or greater, we are setting up a system to actively precipitate calcium carbonate (lime scale). When dealing with waters with high potential for lime scale formation (high total alkalinity), it may be more cost effective to seek methods of applying calcium to the vineyard other than through irrigation injection.

Gypsum may be injected without the worry of lime scale formation if the pH and the bicarbonate (often expressed as total alkalinity) levels of the water are low enough. If the natural water is too high in either of these two factors, it can be modified with the injection of sulfuric acid prior to the gypsum injection point, effectively reducing the total alkalinity and pH.

Fertigation using gypsum can help to flush sodic soils of high sodium concentrations that have built up over time from using irrigation waters that are high in sodium. The Ca in the gypsum will replace the Na on the soil exchange complex allowing the irrigation waters to flush the sodium through the soil profile. You need to apply enough water to exceed the evaporation needs of the crop to assure downward movement of water through the soil profile and past the root zone in order to move the salts out of the profile.

Fertigation also reduces soil compaction as it reduces the number of trips across the field with heavy equipment. It allows for timely application of nutrients when they are needed by the crop and nutrients can be uniformly applied across a field.

As far as rates for gypsum, it will all be determined by your calcium and sulfur needs. The benefit of fertigation is a grower can spoon feed the nutrients and time his applications. Applying a low rate several times will really help when the nutrient solubility is low.

 

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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Iowa Soybean Association Spotlights Limestone

The Iowa Soybean association in its weekly On-Farm Advance newsletter discussed limestone last week. Overall we thought the article was good, the more information the better. Also Dr. Blackmer did an excellent job in his presentation at the annual conference, which we encourage you to look at.  There were a couple of items in the newsletter we wanted to address. See our comments below italicized.
 
Lime is an added cost that farmers incur on a routine schedule. If you are using N, then you should be applying the equivalent offsetting amount of lime each year to maintain proper balance. Saying lime is an added cost is like saying N or seed is an added costs. It should be a necessary and important first step in any fertility plan. Why put on more P on a 5.0 pH soil? 50% of all soil P is unavailable at that pH.
 
Different liming products affect soil pH differently. Because they go into solution at different rates.
 
When buying liming products, be sure you know the composition relative to calcium carbonate (the Calcium Carbonate Equivalent). CCE is based on a laboratory standard (AOAC 955.01) this test has no relation to how a lime material will react in the soil. This is calculated by the fineness of the material as well as its chemical makeup. ECCE is the test which is calculated using a fineness factor and the CCE which is the chemical makeup. However it does not give adequate credit for a finely ground lime material. In Iowa the test stops at 60 mesh, though testing shows solubility of a 60 mesh is very low versus 100 mesh lime and thus the 100 mesh is much more effective at changing pH.  
 
Also remember that surface applied lime will work more slowly to neutralize H ions in the soil than lime that is mixed into the soil profile by tillage. While you do get some soil to lime particle contact and could increase the speed a lime will react, the main component of how fast a lime will go to work is rate of dissolution. This is governed by the geological structure of the lime and the particle size of the lime.
 
For us at Calcium Products, Inc, is very important that the correct terms are used in liming (ECC vrs ECCE, etc.). There is much confusion in the market place and I believe it is partly due to people not being specific in what they are talking about and partly because lime as always been an after-thought.  Our aim is to correct this, lime should be a foundation crop nutrition product and since we think about lime at least 50% of the time (gypsum the other 50% of our time, of course!) we can focus on it and make sure it gets explained properly.
 
Thanks again to the ISA’s On-Farm Network Staff for the great information and getting people to think about lime!
 
Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a blogronomist and sales and marketing manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at http://blog.calciumproducts.com.
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Sulfur in soybeans

The Iowa Soybean On-Farm Network just sent out an email reporting some data from their trials with our SuperCal SO4. Check out their message:

Sulfur Trials Show Varied Response

There’s been much discussion of sulfur deficiency in Iowa in recent years, but few farmers have actually observed it in their field.

For the past 3 years, growers working with the On-Farm Network® have been using replicated strip trials to look at sulfur-containing fertilizers in an attempt to determine whether these can bring up yields on fields where soil type, management and other conditions might make them prone to sulfur deficiency. We would not expect to see a response on fields where manure has been used recently, or, in general, on soils with more than 2% organic matter content.

Shown here are photos from one of the trial fields in 2011, where visual differences were observed early in the growing season. The field is located in Black Hawk County, with a mix of mostly Finchford, Sparta, Dickinson and Chelsea sandy loam soils. 

Individual plant photos here were typical for the differences between the treated and untreated strips. Aerial imagery in early July and again in August continued to show differences between the strips. It’s quite easy to pick out the strips in these images.

The visual differences seen in this particular trial were greater than those from other 2011 trials. Soil and tissue sample analysis in August showed that sulfur levels for both were higher in the treated strips than in the untreated strips in most of the trials. Yield response for all trials with sulfur products ranges from 2 to nearly 8 bu. per acre. We expected to see a difference in the trial pictured because of the sandy, low organic matter soils.

Click here for additional information on 2011 crop nutrient trials. When the new screen opens, scroll down the page to the Plant Nutrition section.

 

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