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Will your soil respond to SuperCal SO4

Soil amendments can be tricky; this is more due to the fact that soils and fertility contain so many variables. The best starting point is to have a complete soil analysis taken, and if your an irrigator a complete water analysis will also be helpful. Knowing only the pH or phosphorus and potassium levels is not enough to determine proper fertilization.

Once you have your completed soil analysis back, here is a list of items that can give you an idea if SuperCal SO4 will increase your yields.

1. When the soil pH is over 8.2 and maybe even if it is less.
2. When the subsoil pH is lower that 5.
3. When the soil particles disperse when water is added.
4. When water puddles on it.
5. When there is water logging in the soil.
6. When the soil crusts after irrigation or rain.
7. When there is excessive cracking of the soil after irrigation or rain.
8. When the soils contain clays that swell and contract.
9. When the soil contains clay that is very dusty when dry.
10. When intense rain falls on soil that is not acid and where nearly all solutes may be leached from the soil.
11. When no-till is used.
12. When organics (manure, composts, etc.) are simultaneously applied to the soil with gypsum.
13. When crops require the development of fruits or seeds.
14. When sulfur is deficient.
15. When exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) is over 3 and defiantly if it is over 9.
16. When irrigation water contains substantial amounts of bicarbonate.
17. When irrigation water contains less than 200 parts per million of salts in solution (<0.3 mmho/cm).

Some of these problems can be corrected with as little as 100 pounds per acre, while others may take a few hundred pounds per acre. If your farm has one or more of the above conditions SuperCal SO4 deserves to be part of your regular fertility program.

Taken as an excerpt from Soil Conditioner and Amendment Technologies Volume I.

 

 

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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Why increasing soil quality is more important than new technology

I just read an article from Corn and Soybean Digest by John Pocock. The main trust of the article is that 250- bushel average corn yield will be the norm by 2025. If that is the average there will be above average farmers averaging 300 bushels. The story states that to attain those yield goals either more irrigation is needed or a drought tolerant corn will need to be planted.

In order to reach 200 bushels a corn plant needs around 22 inches of water uptake. To reach 300 bushels the plant would need close to 33 inches of water uptake. The problem is that it usually only rains 16-21 inches a year in the corn belt.

I have two thoughts on that, instead of a focus on irrigation, increase the water infiltration rate of your soil. Corn variety won’t matter if you soil has as hard pan 4” down, the best hybrids will fail.

If your soil is a silt loam, it is going to hold about 2” of water per foot. If you topsoil is 5’ deep then the soil could hold 10” of water. In the case of the field in my previous blogs, I could only push a shovel in about 4”. That soil will only hold a little over 1/2” of water! Anything over that 1/2” will sit on the surface and evaporate or runoff.

With all the rain this we have had this fall, your soil profile should be full. However if you have a hardpan, sealed soil surface do to incorrect salt levels or over tillage, than most of the rain it ran off to the nearest river or lake. SuperCal SO4 pelletized gypsum, helps open you soil so more water goes into the soil to be available for plant use next spring.

 

 

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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Improving Water Infiltration

In the last blog, a pictorial of high quality soil, we showed some pictures showing the difference in poor soil quality and good soil quality and its effect on water infiltration.

After 1 day of sun the ponding decreased, however an additional 0.5” resulted in ponding again, the garden did not pond.

field_garden_drying_small_800x464.jpg

 

Poor infiltration leads to in-season water stress. Water stress limits the development of young plants and reduces grain fill and development fruiting plants. Water stress also raises leaf temperature, which increases the likelihood of severe spider mite infestations.

Slow water intake reduces irrigation efficiency since a greater portion of the water applied is lost to evaporation. Finally, slow water intake increases the potential for compaction since planting and harvesting are often performed before the soil is sufficiently dry.

Slow water intake can result in prolonged standing water, which reduces the needed oxygen required for proper soil health. Standing water can cause N loss by waterlogging soil bacteria. The bacteria starving for oxygen, will scavenge oxygen from soil nitrate. As a side effect, these scavenging bacteria break down the nitrate molecules, causing de-nitrification.

The Common causes of poor infiltration are:
1. Compaction of surface soil from traffic.
2. High sodium content (Na) causes soil particles to be forced apart chemically (called deflocculation). This can result in surface sealing by reducing pore size.
3. Inadequate salt content of the surface soil is just as big a factor in slow infiltration as high content. Irrigating with low salt water (less than 250ppm) or excessive rainfall, which is very low in salt content eventually, leaches enough salts from the surface soil to reduce its structure. This creates smaller pore spaces, which have higher surface tension, and less permeability.
4. Subsurface soils with distinctly different texture are often overlooked as a water related problem. It does not cause slow infiltration at the soil surface; rather it limits downward movement of water into the lower root zone. Soils of different texture vary greatly in the number and size of air spaces through which water travels. When downward moving water encounters a zone of different soil texture, it must overcome the surface tension created by the different pore size. Saturated soil conditions occur above the layer until sufficient pressure (head) builds up to overcome this.

 

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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Managing Salts in Soil & Irrigation Water

On a recent trip to Arizona, I had an opportunity to meet with multiple superintendents that are currently using the SuperCal brands to manage high salts in the soil. Golf courses, particularly in the Southwest have started to use reclaimed water out of necessity to irrigate the turf. The global demand for fresh potable water is doubling every 20 years and due to this demand golf course superintendents must take an integrated approach to growing healthy turf.

One of the recurring issues we kept hearing about in Arizona was dealing with bicarbonates in the irrigation water. I have linked an excellent article regarding the management of salts in the soil and irrigation water. This article was written by Sowmya (Shoumo) Mitra, PhD. from the Golf Course Management magazine in January of 2001.  

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