Calcium Products - Displaying items by tag: SO4
Calcium Product 98G

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Application Decisions – Flexibility of SO4 and 98G

98G Application Photo

Using SO4 pelletized gypsum and 98G pelletized limestone in your fertility program allows flexibility when weather limits application season in the fall and spring. Using SO4 pelletized gypsum and 98G pelletized limestone in your fertility program allows flexibility when weather limits application season in the fall and spring.

Considerations for applying 98G

Ideally, 98G would be applied in the fall to initiate pH correction before spring planting occurs, but its rapid reactivity allows flexibility for spring application as well. Regardless of the season of application, one should consider how 98G is applied with respect to other field work. To maximize the efficiency of 98G, the pellets should be applied and allowed to begin breakdown via water (rain, dew, contact with soil) before being worked into the soil with a field cultivator or other tillage equipment in order to target the zone of active acidification — the top 4 inches of the soil profile.

If 98G is being applied for pH maintenance, it can be blended with other flat-rate, broadcast fertilizers to limit trips across the field, or placed into a split bin variable rate application. When the rate exceeds 200-400 lbs/A, it should be a standalone application.

Considerations for applying SO4

SO4 has several options from an application standpoint. Our general recommendation is that it be applied in spring with other soluble fertilizers, however, it can also be applied in the fall and remain available for crop sulfur needs come spring. SO4 can also be used as a rescue application in the spring where visual sulfur deficiency is present. SO4 can be applied any time after emergence and with the right amount of precipitation, will result in plant green up in less than a week. Because SO4 has a very low salt index relative to other fertilizers, it will not injure/burn young crops after broadcast application. 

Regardless of application scenario, SO4 works best when it is left on the soil surface. Since sulfate is an anion (negatively charged), it has potential to leach, and letting the product work from the surface downward will result in the best sulfate uptake efficiency. 

As with 98G, SO4 can also be blended with other fertilizers to maximize application efficiency. Oftentimes, SO4 is blended with a nitrogen source for sidedress application in the spring, and with phosphorus and potassium applications in the fall.

It should be noted that anytime SO4 or 98G are blended with other fertilizers, particularly those that attract moisture, the blend should go directly from the blending equipment to the spreader to minimize the amount of product degradation from added moisture. It is not recommended that liquid products be added to these blends because it can result in product breakdown and difficulty in the spreading operation.

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Creating a TV-Worthy Golf Course at Woodbine Bend

Andy Young

Andy Young has been working on a golf course since he was 14-years old. He played golf in college and continues to play weekly in the mens league at Woodbine Bend Golf Course near Stockton, Illinois, where he has been the Golf Course Superintendent since 2012. 

Woodbine Bend opened in 2002 and was formerly a rolling northern Illinois cornfield. Andy’s goal is to give golfers at Woodbine Bend a fun and unique experience – one they want to come back to. 

“I want golfers to have the best conditions for the money, and I feel we exceed that here at Woodbine Bend,” says Andy. 

One of the ways Andy creates a TV-worthy golf course is by applying SO4 pelletized gypsum in the spring and fall. Andy’s distributor representative, Mike Werth from Advanced Turf Solutions, introduced him to SO4. 

“We have heavy clay soils, so we use SO4 to make the soil structure better for the plant to grow,” says Andy. “Especially if we don’t get rain, the SO4 helps flush salt build-up from the fertilizer we apply.”

In past fall seasons, Andy has typically applied SO4 right before the first snow fall. This year he applied it right after aerification so it can enter the soil profile through the aerification holes. 

“Every fall and spring after I apply SO4, I see better playability on the turf. It’s one of the best gypsums out there,” said Andy.

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Implement 98G and SO4 Equations into Your VRT System

iStock Computer

One of our core beliefs at Calcium Products is to embrace technological advancements that aid growers in maximizing profits. We strive to integrate our products into these technologies wherever possible. One of our core beliefs at Calcium Products is to embrace technological advancements that aid growers in maximizing profits. We strive to integrate our products into these technologies wherever possible. 

Variable rate technology (VRT) allows growers to apply products at the right rate, right place, right time, and with the right source – the 4 R’s. Following the 4 R’s minimizes impact on the environment and maximizes a grower’s return on investment. We have worked for the past five years to develop, test, and refine product specific equations for 98G and SO4 to allow incorporation into VRT systems. 

Given the wide scope of the VRT software industry, we are able to work directly with retailers and/or software companies to make sure our equations are correctly incorporated into their specific VRT system. 

The best way to incorporate our equations into your VRT system is to simply reach out to me and get the conversation started. We will need to know which system you are using and who is responsible for entering equations. Once we gather this info, the process is generally very quick and seamless. We are happy to provide background on how the equations were developed and the equations themselves. We also offer calculators based on these equations that show how the equations provide recommendations prior to incorporation into the VRT system.

We have had tremendous success merging our product equations into customers’ VRT systems, which has helped put our products into consideration when talking with growers about maximizing soil fertility. We look forward to more of you reaching out to get this process started.

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How to repair sodic soils

Sodium problems are becoming more widespread

Sodic soils are one of the most difficult challenges facing turf managers in areas where they exist. With the rise of effluent water use for golf course and athletic field irrigation, sodium problems are becoming more widespread than they were in the past. High levels of sodium create a toxic environment for plant health and destroy the physical structure of soils.

Sodium becomes a problem when it reaches levels that overwhelm the natural equilibrium of the soil. It causes soil clay particles to swell and disperse, causing soil pores to become blocked, limiting water infiltration and drainage of the soil. Plants trying to grow in sodic soils exhibit symptoms of drought due to excessive uptake of sodium and lack of water infiltration into the soil where roots normally grow.

Check out our document on using SO4 and 98G to manage sodium affected soils.

Del Norte High School in San Diego, California

Below are before and after photos of Del Norte High School's baseball field in San Diego, California. After extensive soil testing, it was identified that sodium levels were at toxic levels for quality turfgrass growth and that the Calcium/Magnesium ratios were dramatically off. 98G, our pelletized limestone, was applied at 10 lbs/1000 ft2 every three to four weeks from June to November for a total of about eight applications.

Below: Del Norte High School third base line in June 2016.

Del Norte 3rd Baseline Before

Below: Del Norte High School third base line in November 2016.

Del Notre 3rd Base Line After

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Soybean Nodules Adversely Affected by Low Soil pH

Soybean Harvest

Soybean nodules supply plant available nitrogen

Nodules on soybean roots are formed by a specific genus of soil-borne bacteria, Rhizobium, which form a symbiotic relationship with the plant. The nodules fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and transform it into plant available nitrogen, while the plant supplies necessary nutrients and energy for the bacteria to multiply and thrive.

Typically, nitrogen fixation via nodules supplies most of the nitrogen that a soybean crop needs during a given year and additional nitrogen applications are not advised as that can have a detrimental effect on nodules. If there is nitrogen available from applied fertilizer, the relationship between the nodules and the plants suffer, ultimately hindering the ability of the nodules to fix nitrogen. It’s a costly move for both growers and the plant-bacteria interaction.

Nodules hindered by low soil pH

Nodule formation and performance is hindered by soil pH below 5.7. Many fields in the Midwest have areas of the field, or wide expanses with values at or below this level. The acidification from nitrogen sources applied during corn rotations continue to drive pH values lower.

When ammonium sulfate (AMS) is used to supply sulfur for soybean crops, a two-headed monster is working against achieving maximum yield. First, nitrogen is being applied, which can hinder nodule formation and performance. Second, AMS is the most acidifying fertilizer used in agriculture today, and that acidity can further degrade nodules.

SO4 – a pH neutral sulfur source

SO4, which is pelletized gypsum, is a pH neutral sulfur source. Its natural solubility meets plant needs for sulfur throughout the growing season. An added benefit is the addition of calcium to replace that lost in the previous season’s harvest.

Increased soybean acres projected for 2017

Due to various agricultural economic metrics, 2017 appears to be on track for the largest soybean crop ever planted in the United States. The USDA predicts 85.5 million acres planted this year, 1.8 million more than last year.

Soybean and nodule health will be more important than ever with the predicted increase in acres planted. Ensure you are making the best decisions for crop health, including nodules, to maximize yields.

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Rescuing Sulfur Deficiency with Topdress Application of SO4

SO4 vs No Sulfur

Photo above: 2016 sulfur trial on corn in Kanawha, Iowa at the ISU Northern Research Farm. SO4 applied at 150 lbs/acre (left) and no sulfur applied (right). SO4 application resulted in a 30 bu/acre increase compared to no sulfur.

Expect Sulfur Deficiency

With seemingly endless rainfall this spring, we can expect widespread sulfur deficiency as corn continues to emerge. The problem is that sulfate is easily leached from where the young corn roots need it in wet years. Sulfur deficiency shows up in the youngest leaves of the plant, and consists of green and yellow stripes in the leaves. Many confuse nitrogen deficiency with sulfur deficiency, and the most likely scenario is that it’s sulfur and not nitrogen since most growers typically put out more than enough nitrogen to meet crop needs.

To compound this problem, wet springs often mean that sulfur applications were skipped or postponed in lieu of getting seed in the ground during short windows of opportunity. Further, most sulfur sources that can quickly supply sulfur to the crop via topdress application have high burn potential.

Topdress SO4

SO4 is the perfect sulfur source for any application scenario, but the ability to topdress SO4 without any concern over crop burn makes it stand out against other sources.

Research conducted at Iowa State University with SO4 has shown that green-up will occur in less than 1 week with topdress applications up to V6.

SO4 Application Rates

How much sulfur you need to apply for your crop depends on your soil type. In coarse textured soils with low organic matter content, shoot for about 25 lbs of sulfur per acre (150 lbs/acre of SO4); for finer textured soils with 3% organic matter or more, application rates closer to 17 lbs of sulfur per acre should suffice (100 lbs/acre of SO4).

It’s hard to accurately predict where and when sulfur deficiency will occur, but you can save your yield potential and correct in-season sulfur deficiency with topdress applications of SO4.

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Meet our Updated Product Names and Logos

 

We have some exciting news to share! We are shortening our product names to 98G and SO4 and have created a new logo for each. Yes, we are retiring the “SuperCal” language in an effort to simplify the product names for more clear communication.

We are committed to growing brand recognition for 98G and SO4, and we’ll be updating materials over the next year.

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Aerification and SO4

Golf Ball on Aerified Turf

Aerification contributes to healthy turf

The most scrutinized word in the professional turf industry might be aerification. If golfers arrive to the course and see a “plinko” board on the putting surfaces, they immediately assume that their experience for the day is going to be ruined. This doesn’t have to be the case. Sure, it may not look good but that doesn’t mean they won’t play good.

Consider a story I heard about Tom Watson, eight-time major champion. Tom arrived at his home course and shot a course record 58, just days after the greens had been aerified.

What golfers don’t realize but superintendents do is that aerification is a necessary practice to provide the healthiest turf possible. This is a short-term disruption that has long-term benefits. The GCSAA explains the aerification process achieves three important objectives:
1. It relieves soil compaction.
2. It provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green’s roots.
3. It reduces accumulation of excess thatch.

Healthy roots demand oxygen. In good soil, the roots get oxygen from tiny pockets of air trapped between soil and sand particles. During the aerification process, cores of compacted soil and excess thatch are removed, allowing for the infusion of oxygen, and water to bring a resurgence of growth. The holes are then filled with sand via topdressing. Adding the sand helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for the roots to grow through the profile. Topdressing can also prevent an excess of thatch from becoming established.

Introduce SO4 pelletized gypsum during aerification

Aerification is the perfect opportunity to introduce SO4 pelletized gypsum in the process. Once the topdressing is complete, the next step is to broadcast SO4, then drag or broom in the sand and SO4.

Having a high quality, highly soluble form of dihydrate gypsum – such as SO4 – allows the calcium and sulfur to be plant available quickly, providing a much-needed boost to the soil and plant heath after a very stressful procedure. By adding calcium, it can help dislodge any accumulated sodium in the soil profile, which can then be leached away with irrigation or rain. Calcium is also important for soil structure, ensuring adequate pore space for oxygen, water, and root growth. Sulfur helps provide deep green color to the turf, improves density, and can increase drought tolerance and winter hardiness.

The bottom line is that aerification is necessary for healthy turf and incorporating SO4 can enhance the benefits and aid in a speedier recovery.

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Can 98G and SO4 be Applied on Frozen Ground?

Frozen Ground

We are often asked about applying our products on snow-covered or frozen ground. While it may seem intuitive that products should not be applied to frozen ground, in general, applications can be made during late fall or winter and have similar considerations as other times of the year, such as water and ground conditions.

When determining if conditions are adequate to apply SO4 and 98G, keep these considerations in mind.

Potential for water runoff

Water influences movement of surface applied inputs. When water has potential to runoff and not infiltrate, then perhaps applications should be delayed.

Late fall and early winter before the ground is completely frozen can be a good time to make applications. As long as there’s not a substantial amount of snow on the ground (less than 6 inches), applications of 98G and SO4 can still be made. If snow comes early, there’s potential that it will slowly melt and start breaking down the product, which will help disperse the particles of the pellets and make them more effective come spring.

Even if the ground is completely frozen, applications can be made before too much snow accumulates. An extremely wet spring with multiple, heavy rain events can lead to water, and thus, product runoff and off-target effects, so paying attention to long range forecasting can help inform application decisions.

Slow snow melt and ground thaw is the best case scenario for products applied on frozen ground. Even if there is some runoff, it’s not likely that all of the product will be taken from where it was applied.

Soil tillage

Heavy or primary tillage (moldboard or chisel plow, ripper) is not a recommended practice after application of 98G or SO4. Application should be delayed until after these tillage practices have already occurred, due to non-uniform depth of application and the likelihood that the pellets will be placed too deep in the soil profile to affect meaningful pH adjustment.

If ground is not completely frozen, then there’s still a chance for the product to start working its way into the ground. SO4 should always be surface applied and left to release its nutrients from the surface, so if some tillage is expected after the application, it may be wise to delay application until spring after ground work has been completed. 98G can be incorporated via surface preparation, so the same considerations do not apply to both products in this case – incorporation can also reduce runoff potential for 98G.

Field slope

Slope of the field should also be considered; relatively flat ground is less susceptible to runoff events and will have more leeway with late fall and winter applications.

To summarize, frozen ground applications are acceptable if snowpack and slope are minimal – however, the risk of excess water in the spring and significant runoff are always present.

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Let There Be Lime

In January 2015 Agriculture.com featured an article written by John Deitz, Let There Be Lime. The focus of the article is the how SuperCal products are helping producers in in Western Canada reclaim land and increase yields

Key Points from the Article:

  •  “If we can apply lime annually to a very small width of application within actual areas that need to be treated, we can drive annualized costs down to between 7% and 9% or lower than the amount the old methods would use,” Solberg says.
  • In 2013, ENR applied a 600-pound rate of SuperCal SO4 to about 200 acres of white, hard, grow-nothing land in southern Alberta that had 26% sodium. It harvested 80-bushel barley on the treated area.
  • The 400-pound applications of SuperCal 98G increased soil pH by about 0.6 and offered the best return – nearly 9 bushels per acre. Cost for the product and application was about $57 an acre.

You can download the article as a pdf

 

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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