Calcium Products - Displaying items by tag: nutrients
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Natural vs. Synthetic Gypsum

Synthetic Gypsum

What is Gypsum?
Gypsum is a mineral that has been used in agriculture for a long time. Its chemical name is calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSO4 • 2H2O). It provides a sulfur source in the plant available form, sulfate, and provides calcium – both essential nutrients in crop production.

SO4 is naturally mined gypsum
SO4 is pelletized from gypsum that is naturally mined in northwest Iowa. Gypsum deposits were left behind when inland seas that used to cover Iowa dried up and receded.

Synthetic gypsum is a byproduct of burning coal
In contrast, synthetic gypsum (photo above) is a byproduct of burning coal. This source is commonly referred to as synthetic or flue gas desulfurized (FGD) gypsum. Power plants have ‘scrubbers’ that control emissions from their flue stacks. The process in its entirety is called flue gas desulfurization.

In short, these scrubbers filter by forcing sulfur dioxide and calcium carbonate (limestone) to react with one another, which creates calcium sulfite (CaSO3). Most power plants also use an additional step called ‘forced oxidation,’ whereby the calcium sulfite is oxidized to calcium sulfate, or synthetic gypsum. The resulting moist material is either landfilled or used in various industries around the U.S. – wallboard for instance. 

Challenges with synthetic gypsum
There are a few challenges with synthetic gypsum worth considering:
1. Coal contains heavy metals, which are generally isolated in the scrubbing process but occasionally can end up in the synthetic gypsum, raising obvious concerns about agricultural applications.
2. In bulk form, the material contains high moisture levels, making it difficult to spread and manage. As a result, recommended application rates are in the 1,000+ lbs/A range, which can create imbalance in the soil. These rates lack scientific evidence supporting their use in Midwest agriculture.
3. The purity of synthetic gypsum is only as good as the starting feedstock (limestone) and the system that produces it, creating highly variable chemical characteristics. Because of its synthetic/by-product nature, it will never be registered for organic use.

Synthetic gypsum is difficult and expensive to pelletize due to its fine particle size and requires the use of specialized binders and additives. This results in slow breakdown and activity in the field.

In summary, natural gypsum is mined from the earth while synthetic gypsum is a byproduct of burning coal. SO4 is pelletized, natural gypsum. It’s consistent pellet size allows it to blended and applied with other dry fertilizers.

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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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Wondering about nutrient levels?

Calcium Products, Inc. is once again sponsoring trials with the Iowa Soybean Associations On-Farm Network. While it’s too late to conduct a SuperCal SO4 trial, you can still be a part of their groundbreaking Nutrient Benchmarking Project.

This is perfect for the farmer wondering about nutrient levels in his field who wants an opinion on fertility from someone that doesn’t sell fertilizer, or just wants to improve their fertility program. Calcium Products, Inc., highly recommends Iowa farmers take part in this tremendous program.

 

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 VP of sales and marketing at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at http://blog.calciumproducts.com.

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Differences in organic manure?

Scientists at the USDA-ARS in Orono, Maine have discovered that dairy cows producing USDA-certified organic milk also produce different manure than cows fed in a commercial operation.  The results showed that conventional and organic dairy manures from commercial dairy farms differed in concentrations of plant nutrients, including phosphorus, metals and minerals.

"The researchers found that the two types of manure had at least 17 different chemical forms of phosphorus that varied in concentrations. The organic dairy manure had higher levels of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium.

Organic dairy manure also contained more types of phosphorus found in association with calcium and magnesium. Such forms are comparatively slow to dissolve and would thus gradually release the nutrients. Slow-release fertilizers generally increase the likelihood that they eventually will be taken up by crops, rather than being washed out of fields into nearby surface or groundwater sources.

Because of this, slow-release fertilizers often can be applied at comparatively low rates. Manure produced by cows in organic production systems may show similar characteristics compared to manure from conventional systems."

 Read more here-http://www.ars.usda.gov/IS/pr/2009/090422.htm

 

 

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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Pasture Management

The current cost of fertilizer, corn, and land has many livestock owners wondering how to stay profitable. Unfortunately there are not quick solutions. This article on nutrient cycling in pastures should help. I have condensed it for quicker reading. 

Appropriate pasture management can enhance the nutrient cycle, increase productivity, and reduce costs. Two practical indicators of soil health are the number of earthworms and the percentage of organic matter in the soil.
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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!  

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Liming Key to Fertilizer Utilization

Many farmers are bracing for the fall fertilizer season. The cost of dry fertilizers this fall is expected to be at all time highs. For farmers looking to increase production and reach high corn yields while reducing input costs seems impossible.

 

Soil pH testing is the best place to start when planning a fertility program. Having low pH causes plant nutrients to be tied up. According to research done by Midwest Laboratories, a pH of 6.5 ties up 24% of available phosphorus. If your pH is 6.0, then P tie-up increases to 48%, and 24% of N is not available to your crops.

 

The cost of not liming soil at a 6.0 pH, 200-bushel corn goal:

Nitrogen  @ $0.60/# 

 24% unavailable  

 140#'s = $84

 $20 /a in wasted inputs

 

Phosphates @ $0.48/#

 

 48% unavailable  

70#’s  = $34/a

$16/a in wasted inputs

$36/a lost in wasted inputs

 

Yield loss of corn, resulting from low pH, 34 bushels, priced at $3.50 =

$119/a lost in yield reduction due to low pH

 

The economic loss of farming ground with low pH is astounding. Keeping you soil at neutral pH will pay for itself many times over.

 

SuperCal 98G can eliminate the yield loss and fertilizer tie-up associated with acid soils. By applying a few hundred pounds as part of a maintenance fertility plan, the high cost of traditional ag lime programs can be eliminated.

 

The high price of soybeans have you thinking of growing more beans. Low pH creates an even bigger yield loss, 20% with a 5.7 pH. Testing has shown that even 200 pounds can return over 4 bushels on soybeans.

 

Stop wasting high cost fertilizer, applying SuperCal 98G makes fertilizer work better!

 

 

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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Maintained by our team of experts, we have a wide array of blog articles from our experts and 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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