Calcium Products - Displaying items by tag: soil pH
Calcium Product 98G


Take the 98G Challenge – See How Your Aglime Stacks Up.

Challenge Blog Image

Do you know how effective your aglime is in changing soil pH?

Below are two photos comparing 98G, our pelletized lime product, to aglime being spread in a field near Boxholm, Iowa. The photos illustrate that the finest particles in aglime, although the most effective at changing soil pH, are subject to significant drift loss.

98G is pelletized for uniform distribution out of application equipment resulting in ideal spread and solubility. It also has the ability to be mixed with other dry fertilizers.

Learn more about the 98G Challenge and request an aglime sample collection kit.

 98G Lo Res

98G, October 18th, 5-10 mph winds.


Aglime Lo Res

Aglime, October 19th, 10-15 mph winds.


Soil pH – The Foundation for Nutrient Availability

Soil pH Blog Image DRAFT1

Every nutrient's availability is affected by soil pH.

Soil pH is the foundation and main governing parameter of soil fertility. Every nutrient’s availability to plants is affected by soil pH – some more so than others – which is why correcting and maintaining soil pH at adequate levels is so important.

Phosphorous (P) availability is the most affected nutrient by pH because the chemistry of P is such that it loves to react with other minerals in the soil at varying pH levels. At high pH, P is very attracted to calcium, while at low pH, P is very attracted to aluminum and iron. When P reacts with calcium, aluminum, or iron, it forms insoluble compounds that plants cannot easily access.

Nitrogen (N) and Potassium (K) are also affected by pH, but not in the same way as P. At low pH, aluminum and iron increase in availability and “out-compete” nutrients like N and K in the soil, leaving N and K susceptible to leaching from the soil profile.

Maintaining proper pH protects fertilizer investments.

With the substantial investment made on N, P, and K fertility programs, it is easy to see why maintaining appropriate pH is paramount to protecting fertilizer investments. Further, crops need sufficient access to these nutrients in order to obtain maximum yield and further return the investment growers make on these important nutrients.

Our philosophy is that soil pH should be corrected and then maintained with yearly or every-other-year, lower rate applications to avoid the pH rollercoaster that can occur with 4- or 5-year aglime application regimens. Our product, 98G, is a pelletized lime that corrects and maintains soil pH. It’s easy to apply and works well in variable rate application programs.

By measuring and managing soil pH, you are ensuring that growers are set up for a high-yielding crop and fertilizer investments are being put to work.


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.


How Soil pH Affects Soil-Applied Herbicides



Note: This article is intended as a general guide to herbicides and soil pH. It is not a substitute for herbicide labels, nor promotes or discourages the use of any herbicide(s). All herbicides are names are trademarks of their respective manufactures.


Soil pH can make a big impact on soil-applied herbicides
Low soil pH (<6.2) will cause the triazine herbicides (Atrazine, Sencor) to be bound to the soil. When herbicides are adsorbed they are not effective at controlling weeds since they are not available in the soil solution. This is why pH sensitive herbicides like Atrazine, and Sencor can be used with less risk of crop injury in low pH soils. At low soil pH higher rates are need to control weeds. Crop injury increases when soil pH is higher.
When higher rates of herbicides are used in an attempt to get better weed control in low pH soils, herbicide residues in the soil increase. These bound herbicides are released if the soil is over-limed. If ag lime is postponed until just before planting, this release of bound herbicide can have serious detrimental effects on sensitive crops.
"Over-liming" Injury
Sometimes there are problems when soils are limed with large amounts of ag lime. Spreading high rates of lime than required or quickly raising a very acidic soil can cause crop injury. If there is a long history of triazine herbicides used, liming can release these chemicals and kill sensitive crops. Decreased crop growth because of "over-liming" injury is usually associated with lowered availability of phosphorus, potassium, or boron. Over-liming acidic sandy soils can produce zinc and copper deficiencies.
Poor crop performance due to nutrient deficiency is often blamed on Atrazine, and Sencor since problems do not develop until 2 to 3 weeks after emergence. Moldboard plowing can reduces phytotoxicity of Atrazine, and Sencor by diluting the herbicide residue in a large volume of soil. The best way to avoid these problems is to consistently maintain the soil pH above 6.2. Applying SuperCal 98G minimizes the adsorption of triazine herbicides to the soil and results in improved crop safety and performance. Properly limed fields will reduce the residual herbicide in the soil and avoid large release of bound herbicide causing crop injury.
Poor Performance and Carry-over
The half-life of many herbicides varies with soil characteristics and environment. For example, the half-life of atrazine in Georgia on a soil with a pH of 6.8 was reported to be 39 days, whereas in Minnesota the half-life was 261 days on a soil with a 7.9 pH. Whether a herbicide has basic, acidic or neutral properties can determine its ability to exist in the soil solution or adsorbed by soil solids. In general, herbicides whose pH is close to the pH of the soil are strongly adsorbed and are not subject t

What you get with ag lime

For many years pelletized lime has been cast off as too expensive, renter’s lime, or a quick fix. Ag lime has been regarded as long lasting, what land owners use to make long term fixes. There are a number of other things that I think of when I think of ag lime;

Unfortunately the best portion of lime is most likely to drift. Even if you’re the one farmer that gets his lime spread on a calm day, the floater is traveling 10-15 mph, and throwing the lime out at 70+ pounds per square inch. There is no other way to avoid drift than to pelletize the lime.

precision ag lime 3 2

Poor Spreading
You paid for VRT/GPS spreading, not stripped fields

lime stripes Copy

Slow ROI
In a University of Nebraska on Farm Research project they considered a 2-ton application of ag lime had a 5-10 year life span. It took 4 years to get enough yield response to cover the cost. If I were spending $40 per acre I would expect that money to have a better return than 2 bushels in the first 2 years!
UNL Research

Application Problems
Large patches of compaction, piles of stalks, areas that are over limed. Do they do that for free…..

lime dump

At equivalent rates SuperCal 98G is the same cost or less than ag lime.
Renters us it because it works, returning their investment the year it is applied.
You wouldn’t put on 7 years worth of phosphates or potassium, put on only what you need, and conserve your money for something else.
Reduce the headaches, increase yields, quickly, spread only the lime you need for the next couple of years.



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!


Soil Biology - Azotobacter

We talk a lot about soil quality and soil biology. When we hear soil biology, earthworms and rhizobium are the first things that come to mind. There are many other soil life forms that deserve our attention. I will present information on the most beneficially ones over the next few months. As fertilizer prices continue to raise, it will be important to not only feed the crop, but also feed the organisms that enable the plant to access those high priced inputs.

I present Azotobacter

Azotobacter is a bacterium that can fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil without the aid of a legume. It is a great source of nitrogen to meet the needs of crops, has the capability rejuvenate the soil, and provides nutrients for other microbiology to max out nitrogen fixation. Its main fuel is carbon (organic matter), but it also requires calcium, and micronutrients for nitrogen fixation.

Besides N fixation Azotobacter improves seed germination, produces plant growth promoting hormones, and fungicidal substances. Azotobacter is the heaviest breathing organism and requires a large amount of organic carbon for its growth. It thrives in alkaline soils and is less effective in soils with poor organic matter content, low pH and high salts.

Azotobacter produces Thiamin, Riboflavin, B12, B1, Biotin, Gibberellins, and Cytocinins. Azotobacter produces substances that are required for Rhizobium bacteria, and Mycorrhize growth. Rhizobium is primarily responsible for nitrogen fixation in legumes. Plants growing in the presence of Mycorrhize have improved nutrient and water uptake, disease resistance and superior growth.

Azotobacter also has a symbiotic relationship with Phosphobacteria. Phosphobacteria as it’s name implies transfers phosphate from insoluble soil particles directly to the plant in soluble from. Azotobacter and Phosphobacteria fix phosphate more efficiently together than alone. Phosphobacteria alone increased potato yields by 6%, while together with Azotobacter increased yields 33%.

Ensure that your not missing out on free nitrogen, keep your pH at 6.5 or higher, supply the necessary carbon and calcium that this extremely beneficial bacteria needs with SuperCal 98G pelletized lime.



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!   


I might sail off the edge of the earth

The sun revolves around the earth

The world is flat

It takes 1.2 lbs of Nitrogen to make one bushel of corn


These are a just a few once held beliefs that come to mind. There are lots of them out there. Why do they persist and why does it take so long for people to let go of them. There is one main reasons; fear of loss.

Fear of loss can mean a number of things, fear of change, loss of yield, loss of a customer, loss of reputation.  There are still people who think the world is flat; they cannot accept change. If a crop consultant recommends a low N rate, and his client has poor yields, he will be blamed for the failure, even if N rate is not the reason. The fear of loss of that customer and being ridiculed keeps the status quos in place.

Western Union passed on the telephone, stating it is an unusable technology. They were so heavily invested in the telegraph system that they refused, or couldn’t see the benefits of the new technology. They had such domination on the communications industry that they could not believe that telephones could work.

What practices are you or your consults so heavily invested in that nothing else could work on your operations? Have you tried different N rates, applying sulfur, or cover crops? Yes, changing what your currently doing could cause some loss in the short term and may even take a little extra work. Don’t forget to consider what may be gained if your new practice works, lower fertilizer input costs, more income, more free time.

In 1899, then Patent Commissioner, Charles H. Duell reportedly announced, "everything that can be invented has been invented." We know that is not true and new and innovative inventions and ideas are developed every day

While liming is not new, the way we think about it is new. Would you expect good gains feeding cattle if you feed them 2 years of feed at once? Do you expect excellent return on investment by applying 5 years of phosphates at once? Applying SuperCal 98G pelletized lime reduce wild pH swings, is less expensive than ag lime, yields better, and makes all your other inputs work more efficiently.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and thanks for reading.



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!


Buffer pH (BpH)

Soil pH measures the active acidity, while the buffer pH indicates the potential acidity. The amount of potential acidity for any given soil pH will depend upon the amount and type of clay and the level of organic matter in that soil. Therefore, it is possible to have two soils with the same soil pH but with different buffer pH's. A lower buffer pH represents a larger amount of potential acidity and thus more limestone is needed to increase the soil pH to a given level

Two buffer test that most labs use.

SMP Buffer Test (pHSMP)
This test measures the total soluble and exchangeable hydrogen and aluminum. It is reliable for soils with a greater than 1 Ton/acre lime requirement and it is also well adapted for acid soils with a pH below 5.8 containing less than 10% organic matter and having appreciable amounts of aluminum. If the soil pH is greater than 6.5, the SMP buffer test is not made, since lime is not needed for most crops.

Adams-Evans Buffer Test
This buffer method is primarily an adaptation of the SMP buffer, but it is specifically designed for low organic matter, sandy soils where amounts of lime are needed in small quantities and the possibility of over-liming exists. The chemistry of the Adams-Evans buffer solution works in the same manner as the SMP buffer solution. The pH of the Adams-Evans buffer solution is 8.0. When the buffer solution is added to an acid soil, the original pH of the buffer will be lowered. Since it is known how much acid is required to lower the buffer solution pH to any given level, the total acidity of the soil can be determined.

The buffer pH is the sample pH after the laboratory has added a liming material. The laboratory adds the buffering solution, which acts like an extremely fast-acting lime. Each soil sample receives the same amount of buffering solution; therefore the resulting pH is different for each sample.

To determine a lime recommendation, the laboratory looks at the difference between the original soil pH and the ending pH after the buffering solution has reacted with the soil. If the difference between the two pH measurements is large, it means that the soil pH is easily changed, and a low rate of lime will be sufficient. If the soil pH changes only a little after the buffering solution has reacted, it means that the soil pH is difficult to change and a larger lime addition is needed to reach the desired pH for the crop.

The reasons that a soil may require differing amounts of lime to change the soil pH relates to the soil CEC and the "reserve" acidity that is contained by the soil. Soil acidity is controlled by the amount of hydrogen (H+) and the aluminum (Al+++) that is either contained in, or generated by the soil and soil components. Soils with a high CEC have a greater capacity to contain or generate these sources of acidity. Therefore, at a given soil pH, a soil with a higher CEC (thus a lower buffered pH) will normally require more lime to reach a given target pH than a soil with a lower CEC.



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!


Starting to get it right

Our Iowa customers tell me the University of Nebraska was my first mistake. After sitting though UNL's summer work shops, listening to researchers tell agronomists that 5.8 pH is adequate, it's nice to see someone who is starting to get it.

Doug Beegle, PSU Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Specialist has a great article on liming No-Till. His tips make great sense even for the guy doing tillage.

Key Points:

Lime on a regular basis and don't let pH get low in the first place

Maintain soil pH near to the optimum and don't let it get below the 6.0-6.5 range

It took 9 years to raise the pH in the plow layer (6"") from 5.1 to 6.5

Acidity is constantly forming in soils

Where I disagree with Mr. Beegle is, tilling the lime in when you have extremely low pH. I feel the damage that is done to the soil by tillage is not worth the benefit. A better approach is to use a better liming product, like SuperCal 98G. It's fineness will work faster and move through the profile better than coarse ag lime.

The other point of contention is how often to lime. The reason to lime every 3 years with ag lime is; nobody will apply less than 1 ton per acre, nobody will haul less then 30 ton per load, it's expensive so you do not want to write a big check very often.

Using SuperCal 98G every year or every other year will cost you less, yields you more, and helps to create better soil. Every year you apply nitrogen, you need to be applying lime. 98G finally makes that cost effective and easy to do.

Calcium Products, lower input costs, higher yields, better lime


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!


Lab Difference in Quality Soil 2

For comparison I sent soil samples from the garden and field to International Ag Labs. International Ag Labs does a great job helping their clients develop better soils, not just increase NP&K levels.

There are a couple of test they run that most labs don't. The first is the Formazan Test. This test will tell you how well your soil will digest fertilizer, amendments, and residue. The other is ERGS (energy released per gram of soil). This measures the amount of energy in the soil available for plant growth.

International Ag Labs also computes a Soil Index. The Soil Index measures the overall quality of this soil. It is represented as a 0-100 score on the soil with the potential to show negative numbers if the soil is extremely hostile to growing plants. The Soil Index is simply the total of all points (positive or negative) from all the measurements and ratios on the soil test. The desired level is 50 and greater.

Click  Field Test and Garden Test to view the tests.

These tests confirm the test from Midwest Labs, low pH 6.5 in the garden, 4.9 in the field. The test also confirms low calcium availability in the field; half of what is available in the garden. Also phosphorus is very low in the field. By having the Formazan test, and the ERGS test done, this gives us a better idea of how to make adjustments to the field.

Recommendations from Midwest Labs, tells us that we need 3.5 tons of ag lime (at a 90% ecce) to make the pH change (remember First Things First, fix your pH). However since most aglime is a 50% ecce, and 25% drifts away you will need close to 8 tons of aglime to change the pH.

The Formazan and the ERGS shows that the digestive capacity of the soil will not handle 3.5 tons of aglime. Applying that much lime to the field will not increase yield for years! It may show a pH and calcium increase in the lab, but plant available calcium will still be low.

Applying lime at a level the soil can handle is the best way to increase yields. You would not add 250 lbs of Nitrogen at one shot to sandy soil with a CEC of 4; it would not be able to store all than N. It would be wasted, this is the same concept with liming.

SuperCal 98G makes it easy and cost effective to lime for increased yields and profits. Applying 3-8 tons of aglime may make a pH change but ROI will be measured in decades. Make your inputs and fields work harder, get better returns, faster on your money, add SuperCal 98G to your fertility program.

The Ag Labs test for the field also recommends gypsum. You may ask why? We addressed this situation in our blog, Improving Water Infiltration. Low salt content reduces structure, creating small pore space, and less permeability. The other reason to add gypsum is, it adds soluble calcium for plants, something this field is lacking. SuperCal SO4, pelletized gypsum makes it easy to spread high quality gypsum.

On a final note, don't be satisfied with ""adequate"" or ""good enough"". In today's agriculture maximizing every acre of land is essential. 



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 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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