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Calcium Product 98G


Three Tips to Spot Sulfur Deficiency in Corn

Sulfur Deficiency

Now is the time to start scouting for sulfur deficiency in corn plants. As you’re out and about this spring, keep these three tips in mind to successfully identify sulfur deficiency.

  1. Check young corn plants. Sulfur deficiency is most obvious early in the growing season, when the plant is most vulnerable to nutrient shortages.
  2. Look at leaf color. From afar, plants with a pale green appearance should be inspected closer for nutrient deficiency symptoms. Both sulfur and nitrogen deficiency are marked by yellow striping between the veins of the leaf (interveinal chlorosis), which can cause confusion when diagnosing sulfur vs. nitrogen deficiency. The image above shows sulfur deficiency.
  3. Inspect plants’ youngest leaves. Sulfur deficiency shows up in the youngest leaves of the corn plant first, while nitrogen deficiency appears in the older leaves first. The difference is related to how each nutrient is mobilized in the plant.

The good news is that sulfur deficiency can be quickly corrected with a broadcast application of SuperCal SO4. An application rate of 100-150 lbs/acre will result in plant green-up in as little as seven days.

Keep in mind, corn needs sulfur throughout the growing season, so make sure you are supplying a source that offers flexible application timing and a release pattern that is compatible with plant requirements. For more details, click or tap to watch the video below comparing SuperCal SO4 and AMS.


Carboxylic acid . . . is it worth the price?

Carboxylic acids are added to some gypsum products to act as a ‘complexing agent.’ One of the claims is that these acids make the calcium ‘more available’ for plant uptake.

For the calcium and sulfur to be plant available it needs to be in the soil solution. Using a simple test, one can determine how soluble a product is. Our research has shown that SuperCal SO4 is more soluble than products containing expensive carboxylic acids.




Lots of rain last fall, long periods of snow cover reducing soil freezing, the potential for excessive spring moisture due to melting snow, Elwynn Taylor istelling us we are in the 19th year. What do they have to do with each other, extra compaction compounded by the threat of drought.

Causes of Compaction:  

Raindrop impact - This is certainly a natural cause of compaction, and we see it as a soil crust (usually less than 1/2 inch thick at the soil surface) that may prevent seedling emergence. Having optimum amounts organic matter and calcium can alleviate crusting.

Tillage operations - Continuous moldboard plowing or disking at the same depth will cause serious tillage pans (compacted layers) just below the depth of tillage in some soils. Corn roots have a penetrating force of 350-400 lbs/sq in. Alfalfa roots can exert up 700 lbs/sq in. Many tillage compaction layers can exceed 750 lbs /sq in of force to penetrate.

Wheel traffic - This is without a doubt the major cause of soil compaction. With increasing farm size, the window of time in which to get these operations done in a timely manner is often limited. The weight of tractors has increased to 20 tons today, from less than 3 tons in the 1940's. This is of special concern because spring planting and fall harvest is often done before the soil is dry enough to support the heavy equipment.

Minimal Crop Rotation - The trend towards a limited crop rotation has had two effects: 1.) Limiting different rooting systems and their beneficial effects on breaking subsoil compaction, and 2.) Increased potential for compaction early in the cropping season, due to more tillage activity and field traffic.

A farmer in Minnesota that has been using SuperCal SO4 and deep tillage for a number of years has reported that his end rows are now higher yielding the middle section. I have recommended that he till half and not use SO4 on that half, use SO4 and not till on the other half. Since SuperCal SO4 “chemically” loosens the soil, and adds soluble calcium and sulfur, I expect higher return on the acres that receive SO4.

A little compaction is good, as it speeds the rate of seed germination because it promotes good contact between the seed and soil. Corn planters have been designed specifically to provide moderate compaction with planter mounted packer wheels that follow seed placement. Too little seed to soil contact can result in rootless corn syndrome.

Soil bulk density is a measure of the weight of the soil per unit volume. The greater the weight of a substance needed to fill up a certain amount of space the greater the density. The more air in a given space the lower the density. Think of a pound of feathers and a pound or rock. They weigh the same but the feathers will take up a lot more space (volume) than the rocks.

While soil bulk density is rarely measured it has a major impact on root growth.

Compacted soils have a very high bulk density reducing root growth. Soil compaction in the surface layer can increase runoff, increasing soil and water losses. SuperCal SO4 provides valuable calcium and sulfur increasing organic matter, and soil oxygen reducing bulk density. This increases water infiltration, and root proliferation, allowing your crop to access more water and nutrients

We can't control the weather, we can reduce the impact through proper soil quality!


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!   


A Pictorial of High Quality Soil

We talk a lot about having good soil quality. What does that mean exactly for the farmer. When it rains excessively for a couple of days, you'll be in your field a day or two before your neighbors. Roots will penetrate deeper with less energy required, which means more energy goes to grain development. Deeper roots mean more access to moisture and better standablity.

The following are some pictures showing the difference between a quality soil and a poor soil.


This a picture of my garden and a neighboring field. This has been a garden for two years. The field is a corn soybean rotation. It was field cultivated this spring, then planted to seed corn.



This is a shovel in the end rows. I stepped on the shovel with one foot, placing all my weight (260#) on it. It only penetrated 3-4"". This is pretty compacted, with poor water infiltration. Note corn roots generally cannot penetrate more than 300 psi. My estimate is that the shovel had over 350 psi on it.



This picture shows the hole I dug in the end rows. It became impossible to dig after 14"". I had to use the shovel as a pick to chip away the soil. It shows the tillage line about 4"" down. You can see the soil is saturated to that point, after that it is moist, but not wet.



Just for comparison I stepped on the shovel 150 yards out into the field. It did not go in much farther than on the end rows. Also you can see excessive ponding of water signifying poor structure, poor infiltration, and compaction.



This picture shows the shovel in the garden. It slid in all the way very easily with about half my weight applied.



This is the hole dug into the garden. It dug easily to a depth of 21". Note - no saturation of soil.
In the field the shovel only penetrated 4", in the garden the shovel easily penetrated 12". If the shovel cannot penetrate the ground roots will not be able to either. 



This picture shows that high quality soil stays aggregated even during heavy rain events.



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!   


Fall Update

It's been a busy summer for us at Calcium Products. The website got a face lift, the SO4 plant has been expanded, and new products have been developed and tested.

The building for the expansion has been completed. We are now waiting for the last of the production line equipment. We are hoping for the installation of the equipment to be finished before the end of the year.

There has been incredible demand for SuperCal SO4 this past year and we are currently sold out for the rest of the year. The plant expansion will allow us to increase production of SuperCal SO4 by 50%.

We have been testing a number of new products over the summer. While most are still in the development stage, and I cannot talk much about them, I can talk about HydraSave. HydraSave is our Ultra Premium Greens Grade Gypsum. HydraSave is an ultra small prill, eliminating the dust that comes with powdered products, but allows you to spread it in the morning, water and play golf with no residual product.

We will be launching HydraSave in spring of '08. We have already received a number of request from top course superintendents across the midwest. We have tested this product for a number of years, it transformed Spring Valley, see what it can do for your course.

This fall proves to be busy as well. The tradeshow circuit is in full swing. We had a booth at the Redwood Falls Farm Show, and talked with many of customers and friends from Minnesota and Iowa. This coming weekend we will be down at Springfield, MO at the Ozark Fall Farm Fest.

It is that time of year for fertilizer and lime spreading. We have been working hard to explain the difference of 98G over ag lime. I think the following picture explains it best.


I don't know anyone that would throw money in the air, watching it blow across the county. This is exactly what happens when you spread ag lime. The portion of lime that does you any good, does not even land on your property.

Make your expensive fertilizer work harder for you, buy lime that actually lands in your field. Use SuperCal 98 Pelletized lime.

Calcium Products, lower input costs, higher yields, keeping you informed


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!  



The Silage Pit - Where your organic matter went

I as I drove across Iowa last week I couldn’t help but notice that there was a lot of silage being chopped. In some areas the corn was extremely good with yield estimates in the 220 range, while others areas yields were estimated at 70 bushels.

This fall will you treat the fields chopped for silage like the fields where just the grain was harvested? Will you adjust fertilizer rates in the sections of the fields that were chopped?

When 200-bushel corn is chopped for silage the following nutrients are removed.
Phosphate 120#      Potash 260#      Calcium 42#      Sulfur 32#

When 200-bushel corn is harvested for grain the following nutrients are removed.
Phosphate 70#        Potash 52#        Calcium 4#       Sulfur 14#

Chopping generally requires that the extra nutrients removed be replaced with increased fertilizer rates. Removing the stover removes 10x as much Ca, 5x as much K, 2x as much S, and 2x as much P. In addition to the nutrients lost, removal of up to 6 tons of stover can lead to a decrease of organic matter since it is not returned to the soil.

Please do not misunderstand; I am not against chopping corn for silage, there are many great benefits to it as a feed source. I am against poor soil. Soil that is low in nutrients such as calcium, sulfur, phosphate, and potash grow poor crops.

Low organic matter is the main cause for many other problems; compaction, poor structure, poor nutrient holding capacity, poor water holding capacity, erosion, crusting, diseases and carbon dioxide release. Crop residues are about 40% carbon. Residue turns into organic matter that releases CO2 throughout the growing season.

Having poor OM can short your corn crop the number one nutrient needed for growth (we’ll get into this more this winter).

The bottom line is SuperCal 98G is the best source for lime, and a great source of carbon dioxide. 100 pounds of 98G will supply all the calcium removed by chopping and supply some carbon that is removed as stover. SuperCal SO4 is a great source of soluble calcium and sulfur.


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!  


Demand for Gypsum Increasing

The demand for SuperCal 98G Pelletized Lime, and SuperCal SO4 Pelletized Gypsum continues to increase.

What a difference a year can make! Last year at this time corn was near $2, soybeans were $5.50, and it looked like it was going to stay that way for a while. Not to mention it was very hot and dry. During harvest we saw an explosion in the price of corn, soybean, & wheat. This drove demand for fertilizer higher than ever.

While this was happening two of our competitors went out of business. One due to fire and one due to government regulation. As of today it looks like one will not reopen and the other may not be online for fall fertilizer season.

photo by Jesse Helling, courtesy Fort Dodge Messenger

We expect that SuperCal SO4 will not fully meet fall demand. Many dealers have prepaid for their needs already. Seeing the increase in demand we have begun a 23,000 sq/ft expansion of our Fort Dodge plant. This will ad storage space and allow for upgrades in manufacturing equipment that will increase production up to 50%.

While the building should be done by August, installation of the equipment will not be completed until late this year. This is due to the highly specialized nature of the equipment. We are planning to be able to meet the increased demand by spring of 2008.

Please keep us informed of your needs. We are working around the clock to make as much product as possible. We are serious about making the best calcium for plants, and we are serious about making sure our dealers can get it.



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!  


Discontinuing the eletter

We at Calcium Products, Inc., are extremely excited about our new website. The folks from Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications did a great job getting the design right. Our other partner DWebware have done a great job getting it running.

Many of our customers have enjoyed getting "First Things First", Calcium Products eletter. We are discontinuing the eletter in favor of this blog. The benefit of this blog is that it is searchable, allows for more information to be shared, and lets you the customer leave comments or ask questions. We think that ability will be of greater value than the eletter.

Like the eletter, we will use this blog to continue to provide educational information on SuperCal 98G (not Pel-Lime), SuperCal (not Cal-Sul), SO4, soil amendments, the benefits of 98G over Aglime, how to improve your soil, yield, and lower costs.

There are few resources out there dedicated to improving soils. The topics we'll address in this blog will show that we are serious about improving your soil, growing better crops, and reducing input costs.

If there are topics that you'd like discussed leave a comment. Also stay up to date by signing up for the e-mail notification.

We look forward to helping you!


Corn Yield Response to SuperCal SO4

Corn Yield Response to SuperCal SO4

Location:         Northern/NE Iowa

Date:              2006 - 2008

Crop:              Corn

Treatments:    Initial: 40 lbs S/acre (SuperCal SO4 @ 235 lbs/A)

                     Follow-up: 10, 20, 40 lbs S/acre (SuperCal SO4 @ 60, 117, 235 lbs/A)

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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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