Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: January 2013
Calcium Product 98G

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Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: January 2013

It has what plants crave...

Winter is a busy time for the sales staff at Calcium Products. We attend lots of meetings, conferences and events. Many times we get to share the stage with other manufacturers. Many of these companies will tell you the secret to why their product is so great is, “it's powered by (insert any nebulous word, scientific sounding description or acronym here)." They'll follow it with a strong pitch of "our results speak for themselves," and "trust us, it really works great, we know you’ll love it!"

This is all well and good but if the sales person doesn’t understand the mode of action, physics and/or chemistry and biology behind their product, how do you, the agronomist or farmer, actually know it is a fit for your agronomic needs?

Many of these pitches remind me of the 2006 movie “Idocracy.” The premise is an 'average Joe,' is frozen for 500 years and awakes to find society has become so incredibly dumb he is now the smartest person alive. The following clip shows Joe, now on the president’s cabinet, explaining why crops are not growing. Note: Brawndo is the future’s equivalent of a sports drink.

At Calcium Products, we strive to help farmers and agronomist understand WHY our products work so well. We’ll help you understand the science of soil so you have the information to know whether our products are a fit for your acres. It’s that simple. No hard sale, no jargon, just information.

Oh and in case you missed it, don’t sign up for any Army studies to be frozen for 500 years, people are getting dumber according to a Standford geneticist!

 

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Something to NOT talk about today on valentine's day...

 

For those of you that somehow missed it, today is Valentine’s day. Did you get your special someone a token of your love? Maybe a card, flowers, chocolate or perfume?

Speaking of perfume, did you know that corn plants use perfume to woo beneficial growth-promoting microbes to live among their roots? These bacteria can make iron and phosphorus more available to plants and stop harmful bacteria. Very cool!

So tonight, pull that someone special close and whatever you do, DO NOT tell your Valentine about corn perfume. Just forget about corn plants for an evening, it's Valentine’s day!

 

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  • Published in Corn

Something to NOT talk about today on valentine's day...

For those of you that somehow missed it, today is Valentine’s day. Did you get your special someone a token of your love? Maybe a card, flowers, chocolate or perfume?

Speaking of perfume, did you know that corn plants use perfume to woo beneficial growth-promoting microbes to live among their roots? These bacteria can make iron and phosphorus more available to plants and stop harmful bacteria. Very cool!

So tonight, pull that someone special close and whatever you do, DO NOT tell your Valentine about corn perfume. Just forget about corn plants for an evening, it's Valentine’s day!

 

 

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, the blogronomist and VP of sales and marketing at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at blog.calciumproducts.com.

 

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Goats on the course?

Mowing down unwanted vegetation…

I have been in the golf business for nearly 20 years. Most of the time superintendents turn to mechanical means to manicure their rough areas but in some locations superintendents go back to golf’s roots and employ goats.

Yes, you heard me, goats…check out how these two courses are using our four-legged friends to mow down some unwanted vegetation:

Pasatiempo Golf Club (Santa Cruz, Ca)

Hawks Tree Golf Club (Bismarck, ND)

 

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Let's talk about pH

When thinking about soil pH, it’s easy to get confused with all of the terminology involved. Simply stated, the acidity or basicity of any solution, e.g. soil and water, is defined by its pH. Technically, pH is the negative logarithm of the ionic concentration of H+ (hydrogen) in the solution. As the hydrogen ion concentration increases, the resulting pH number decreases. The reason logarithms are used is because the concentration of H+ is actually very small, even when the soil is very acidic. For example, when the pH of a soil solution is 4.0, the actual concentration of hydrogen ions is 0.0001 moles per liter (one mole is equal to the number of hydrogen atoms in 1 gram of hydrogen).

The true meaning of the lowercase ‘p’ in pH has been purported to stand for different things throughout history. Some suggest that it stands for “power;” others claim “potential,” or even the Latin term pondus hydrogenii, potential hydrogen. In chemistry circles, the lowercase ‘p’ stands for decimal cologarithim of, and the capital ‘H’ is the chemical symbol for hydrogen.

Hard to wrap your head around, isn’t it? Luckily, you aren’t the only ones and long ago, some scientists decided to take the negative logarithm of numbers like 0.0001 moles per liter and change it to a simple number to understand: 4 on the pH scale. One numerical step in the pH scale represents a 10-fold increase or decrease in acidity. So, pH 5 is 10 times more basic than pH 4 and 100 times more basic than pH 3. Therefore, a pH of 1 is ten trillion times more acidic than a pH of 14.

Now that we have a more thorough understanding of what pH really represents, the following are ways soils can become acidic:

1)     Soil parent material. Soils formed from parent material low in carbonates (both calcium and magnesium) are usually acidic, as are soils formed from sandstone and shale.

2)     Climate. Soils that form under high rainfall are subject to extensive chemical leaching and weathering, which removes essential basic cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+), and allows acidic cations (H+ & Al3+) to occupy the empty cation exchange sites.

3)     High yielding crops. Harvested plant parts take a lot of basic cations with them.

4)     Acidifying fertilizers. Ammoniacal fertilizers can contribute greatly to the acidity of soil. This is due to left over H+ ions after microbes transform ammonia and ammonium into nitrate, which plants prefer for uptake, in the natural process of nitrification. Also, as plants uptake ammonium, which they will, even though they preferentially uptake nitrate, they secrete H+ ions into the soil solution to maintain a balance of chemical charges.

Fertilizers that have the highest potential for acidifying soil are: ammonium sulfate (AMS – 21-0-0) and mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP – 11-52-0), both of which are very commonly used in agriculture.

Another issue with acidic soil conditions, namely below 5.5, is that Al and Mn becomes increasingly available for plant uptake and that uptake can quickly cause toxicity within the plant, while excess Al in the soil solution will inhibit root growth and function, and also restricting uptake of certain nutrients like Ca and Mg, which further compounds problems.

With all the inputs farmers have to balance, one issue often pushed to the back burner is pH. Generally speaking, farmers might decide to apply lime every 3-5 years. What other soil amendment or farm input is treated in such fashion? Why take a reactive approach to managing pH when you can be proactive about the problem and not have to worry about a corrective measure every 3-5 years when yields start to suffer? At Calcium Products, we believe farmers should be more proactive about measuring, monitoring and correcting pH on their farms. With the advent of precision agriculture in every aspect of farming, there is no reason we should exclude lime application and pH correction from that process. Yearly applications of SuperCal 98G at rates much lower than with agricultural limestone should be part of your soil management regimen.

As acidity continues to increase, corrective measures to bring back optimal conditions for crops are harder to achieve. Act now to help the soil help your bottom line!

In the next article, I will take a closer look at how acidity works and what characteristics of soil lead to different levels of acidity, and how the current recommendations for lime-based pH correction work.

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Humates in Turf

We’ve been getting a lot of questions at trade shows about the benefits of humate additions to turfgrass systems. Following is a rundown of what humates are and how they can benefit plants.

Humates or humic substances are fully decomposed remains of plant or animal organic matter. They are the most chemically active compounds in soils with large cation and anion exchange capacities, far exceeding clays. In general, they are very long lasting in soil, but the more intensively a site is managed, the faster they breakdown. This is one reason to add humic substances to your soil: to replace humus depletion in agricultural and horticultural soils.

Most humic products are derived from a mineral called leonardite, whose origins are not entirely understood. It is either an oxidized form of lignite or an accumulation of humic acids leached from topsoil by alkaline water into deeper strata of soil. Leonardite was discovered in North Dakota in 1919 by Leonard Dave, a University of North Dakota faculty member. It is also found in Utah and New Mexico. Leonardite is normally found very close to the surface near lignite deposits.

There are a few terms often thrown around when discussing humic substances; let’s take a look at them to try and clear up any confusion. Leonardite contains three types of organic substances:

  1. Fulvic acid – the fraction that is soluble in water under all pH conditions
  2. Humin – the fraction not soluble in water at any pH value
  3. Humic acid – the fraction not soluble in water under acidic conditions but is soluble at higher pH values

So, how do humates help plants? Again, the mechanisms for how these substances work in plants and soil are poorly understood, but research is being conducted worldwide (including some work funded by Calcium Products) in an attempt to help us understand the how and why. It is assumed, however, that the chelating properties of these substances are most likely responsible for enhanced nutrient uptake and retention in soils, as are their large cation exchange capacity values.

Humates have shown the following benefits in turfgrass situations:

  • Improved germination
  • Improved seedling vigor
  • Enhanced nutrient uptake (N, P, K, Mg, Cu, Mn)
  • Increased microbial actibity
  • Increased root mass

It is important to note that much of the research done on turf has shown that humic substances, particularly leonardite, realize the greatest benefits when applied to sandy soils low in organic matter and CEC. Also, incorporation of these products into the soil further improved the beneficial aspects of humic substances. This means sand-based turf systems (sand-based putting greens, sand-based and sand-capped athletic fields and any turf system intensively topdressed with sand) can benefit from applications of humic substances. It would also be wise to time your applications with your aerification practices to help incorporate the product into the soil.

Calcium Product’s HumaCal, combines the benefits of humates, calcium and sulfur. The ingredients are combined through our proprietary manufacturing process before pelletizing to give you the benefits of easy application and immediate action in the soil.

Talk to your dealer about HumaCal and start on the road to healthy soil today!

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Gotta get that feeling...

I was watching the Super Bowl over the weekend and, of course, the commercials. I was struck by how many commercials had little or nothing to do with the product or service they were selling. Well-known companies with simple, straight-forward products. Yet these companies paid millions for the 30- or 60-second spot. They paid a lot of money to actors, writers, special effects people—some were like mini movies. Why?

Advertisers know people don’t buy a “thing,” they buy a feeling. They buy the feeling that “thing” can do for them or what feeling they would miss if they didn’t buy.

At Calcium Products, we have some great things to talk about, but maybe we spend too much time talking about the “thing.” It’s easy to do—98% calcium carbonate, pellets instead of powder, pounds instead of tons per acre, etc., etc.

However, farmers who buy 98G talk about seeing better, more even crops and can prove it with their yield monitor. After spending thousands of dollars on “precision agriculture,” they feel better knowing what they needed to apply actually ended up where it was needed and not blown into the neighbors’ field. They know this year’s application of 98G helps this year’s nitrogen, potash, phosphate, seed and chemicals work better this year, to pay off this year’s operating note at the bank this year. That may even leave extra money in the bank to remodel the kitchen this year.

I don’t think you will see a Calcium Products advertisement on next year’s Super Bowl broadcast, but if you purchase SuperCal 98G this year, you’ll get that much advertised feeling of elation this year.

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Nitrogen leading to acidic soil?

Many farmers do not consider nitrogen fertilizers as contributing to soil acidity but it is actually THE largest factor in soils becoming more acidic. Areas in western Kansas are now dealing with acid soils, even in areas where alkaline soils are common, thanks to nitrogen applications.

We think this article from Kansas State University explains this very well.

And if you're ready to fix acidic soil, you'll want our SuperCal 98G!

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Maintained by Craig Dick, blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing, we have a wide array of blog articles from Craig and some expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming and growing tips, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!

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