Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: February 2013
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Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: February 2013

Are we over-applying nutrients in turf?

I came across an interesting article this morning on the turf diseases website that confirms something I’ve been a proponent of for many years.

In many areas of agriculture and horticulture, there is a tendency to apply whatever nutrients we think the plants need and not pay any attention to soil testing. It’s something I like to call ‘nutrient paranoia.’ Turf managers (and others) seem to think, for some reason, “the soil reports must be lying, because when I put down that extra two pounds of K last year, I thought I saw some sort of response.”

When you apply a surplus of nutrients, you could be having an antagonistic effect on other nutrients within the system. Think of applying nutrients as trying to achieve a balance of nutrients in soil, not just applying what you think should be there or what worked in the past.

Check out this link and see what researchers found when more potassium (K) was added to their putting greens before winter and the subsequent infections of snow mold.

Soil testing is a very important part of growing plants properly and should not be merely glanced at, then shoved aside so you can continue to do what you’ve done every year. Don’t spend money where it isn’t needed! If your soil report comes back telling you there are adequate levels of P and K in your soil, then you don’t need to apply them.

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Crop Nutrient Deficiency App

Hard to believe its been almost 2 years since we first did a blog on Smart phones apps for farmers.

We have another addition:

The Crop Nutrient Deficiency Photo Library for iPhone and iPad by IPNI.

This app is a comprehensive collection of crop nutrient deficiency photos. A range of nutrient deficiency examples are provided for 14 prominent crops. Text and diagrammatic descriptions are also provided.

While we think this app is great and can help you diagnose a problem, we highly suggest soil testing and making sure you are fertilizing for the most deficient nutrients. Did you know that some nutrients can take up to two weeks before a visible deficiency occurs? It can take another two weeks to correct the deficiency. That whole time you are losing yield you can never recover.

Even worse you can have nutrient deficiency that are not severe enough to show visual signs. Give us a call or send us your soil test we can help you sort it out before yield robbing visual signs occur!

Do you have other apps not on this list you can't live without, let us know and we'll add them to the list!!

 

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Crop Nutrient Deficiency App

Hard to believe its been almost 2 years since we first did a blog on Smart phones apps for farmers.

We have another addition:

The Crop Nutrient Deficiency Photo Library for iPhone and iPad by IPNI.

This app is a comprehensive collection of crop nutrient deficiency photos. A range of nutrient deficiency examples are provided for 14 prominent crops. Text and diagrammatic descriptions are also provided.

While we think this app is great and can help you diagnose a problem, we highly suggest soil testing and making sure you are fertilizing for the most deficient nutrients. Did you know that some nutrients can take up to two weeks before a visible deficiency occurs? It can take another two weeks to correct the deficiency. That whole time you are losing yield you can never recover.

Even worse you can have nutrient deficiency that are not severe enough to show visual signs. Give us a call or send us your soil test we can help you sort it out before yield robbing visual signs occur!

Do you have other apps not on this list you can't live without, let us know and we'll add them to the list!!

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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More sulfur updates...

While reading the 2012 Annual Farm Progress Reports from Iowa State University’s Northern Research Farm in Kanawha, IA, we discovered another trial investigating sulfur fertilization via gypsum on corn. The impetus for the study was the same as the Iowa Soybean Association’s; sulfur deficiencies are becoming widespread in both corn and alfalfa in Iowa and many other midwestern states. The experiment was performed by Dr. John Sawyer and David Rueber of Iowa State University.

Four rates of sulfur (5, 10, 20, 40 lbs/A) were applied to two different soils—one with low organic matter and a slope, and one with higher OM and less slope—as was a non-treated control (no sulfur) to compare differences throughout 2011 and 2012. These rates were applied to corn in 2011 and soybeans in 2012. The 2011 plots were planted to corn after soybean in 2011 and planted to corn again in 2012 to test residual effects of sulfur application. In 2012, additional plots were planted to soybean from corn the previous year.  

In June 2011, corn leaf greenness was visibly different among plots that had sulfur applied vs. those that did not, as well as having taller plants. By late June, there was still a height difference but the color differences were diminished. Despite visual differences, there was no difference in yield between the treated and non-treated pltos.

This is where it gets interesting… 

In 2012, the plots that had received sulfur in 2011 showed no visible differences from those that did not, unlike the differences in 2011. However, when harvest time came, there was an increase in corn yield for sulfur treated plots as a whole when averaged and compared against the non-treated control plots. So, there’s something happening with the sulfur in the soil from year to year that isn’t being accounted for that has increased corn yield as a residual effect. This is similar to what we saw with the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network trials over the last few years; residual activity from sulfur application making a yield difference a year after we thought it would.

Soybeans did not show any statistically different response to the sulfur application in 2012.

This study will continue in 2013 and we are excited to see the results.

 

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 Cr

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Increasing research efforts at Calcium Products

In autumn of 2012, Craig Dick and I began discussing a Calcium Products research agronomist and manager of research & development (R&D). I was thrilled at the idea and gladly accepted the position a few months ago.

I completed my Ph.D. at Iowa State University in May 2012 in horticulture, with a research specialization in turfgrass science. I know that may not equate into corn and soybean agronomy at first glance, but one of the purposes of obtaining a Ph.D. is to show you have learned how to subjectively think about problems and use the scientific method via research to answer them. Although my concentration was in the turf world, I have a well-rounded education that can be applied to any area of plant science. I started part-time with CPI in October while finishing my post-doc work at ISU and started full-time January 1. We have been busy exploring new avenues and expanding existing ones for research and development opportunities.

On-farm strip trials are one area we are exploring. CPI has been doing these for quite a few years, and the idea is to increase product awareness by putting it into the hands of the farmer through our Prove-It program. Sometimes the dialogue between scientist and farmer gets lost in translation; when a farmer talks to another farmer about what worked it's very effective. What better way to spread the message of soil health than through our customers? We put the power in your hands to realize how our products can help your bottom line. We are looking to involve as many farmers and co-ops as possible into our Prove-It program, as well as the Iowa Soybean Association's On-Farm Network, which has been a great cooperative venture we hope to expand in the future.

University research is another area we are starting to increase R&D efforts. CPI has been involved with this in the past, however, cooperating with universities is often a tedious process and can involve considerable cost depending on the intensity of the experiment. We have identified key areas in soil science that involve our products in need of up-to-date research and information. It is our goal to help drive the science to answer these questions and increase the available knowledge base in these areas.

We are also increasing our in-house research efforts. This is where the 'D' of R&D comes in; we are always aiming to improve the physical characteristics of our products to ultimately benefit the end user. We do not simply manufacture a product in the cheapest and easiest way and sell it. On the contrary, we put considerable time, research and money into producing the best product available so we can help growers improve their soils. Beyond the 'D,' we are also looking at small-scale trials with different coatings for our pellets to expand into different agricultural and horticultural markets. Further, we are conducting small-scale experiments on different crops with our existing products to determine what benefits we can offer growers beyond the corn/soybean and turf markets.

Finally, we are always interested in knowing what problems and/or questions growers have for us. Often, these interactions with growers are what spawn new product ideas and research. So, please do not hesitate to contact anyone in the company if you have an idea for a research project or need a question answered about how any of our products work!

 

 

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  • Published in Sulfur

Update from Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network on Sulfur

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending the Iowa Soybean Association’s On-Farm Network (OFN) conference in Ames. One of the highlights of the conference for me was the presentation by Dr. Tracy Blackmer about sulfur.

Sulfur application over the past 30 years was generally considered non-essential due to the high levels found in our atmosphere from power plant emissions high in sulfur, thereby satisfying plant needs. Times and emission standards have changed and, as a result, sulfur levels are much lower in atmosphere and soil than they were in 80s and 90s. Dr. Blackmer observed sulfur deficient corn in recent years and even dug out some old photos during his time at the University of Nebraska that showed sulfur deficiencies—at the time unnoticed, which was very surprising to him. Perhaps we have negated the benefits of sulfur application for far too long!

Gypsum (calcium sulfate) is a great source of sulfur and our gypsum product (SuperCal SO4) has been included in strip trials—on both corn and beans—within the OFN for the past few years. Some observations from aerial photography have shown strips that received gypsum are much darker green than those that didn’t. Looking further into the data, these same farms showed a corn yield increase from 0.5 to 8.8 bushel from sulfur application, as well as tissue testing that confirmed sulfur deficiency in the untreated strips. There is some thought that the sulfur being present in requisite amounts helps the plant use nitrogen more efficiently.

We look forward to further investigation of the benefits of sulfur application on corn in the upcoming season and beyond! Our thanks to all the cooperators within the OFN.

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Soil acidity

Within any given soil, there are two states of acidity that need to be accounted for before liming recommendations can be made. First is the active acidity, which indicates the current pH status of the soil. Active acidity accounts for the H+ ions in the soil/water solution that the laboratory measures. What active acidity doesn’t account for, however, is the reserve, or potential acidity. Think of a swimming pool that has a few people in it, those people represent the active acidity. Now, imagine that there are more people outside the pool, just waiting to jump in after some of the others leave. Those folks represent the potential acidity. When we determine how much lime we need to neutralize the acidity in the soil, it is really the potential acidity that needs to be accounted for. To neutralize the active acidity is easy and requires little lime, but the potential acidity can be a major problem to neutralize if it warrants such action.

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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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