Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: May 2013
Calcium Product 98G


Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: May 2013

Loading hours for this week

We have training scheduled for employees this week so Gilmore City & Fort Dodge facilities will be closed to trucks the evenings of June 27 and June 28. Loading will only occur between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. — all trucks must check in before 5 p.m. on those days.

Sorry for the late notice. Thanks for understanding!


Farming Yields Big Harvest

Large crop yield responses have been measured in some fields containing soils with low organic matter, side-slope landscape position, or coarse soil texture, especially in northeastern Iowa. The objective of this study was to determine S response of com and soybean in north-central Iowa. Materials and Methods Plots were established in 2011 on two sites, one with lower soil organic matter (3.8 to 4.7%) on a Clarion loam with 2 to 5 percent slope (lower organic matter site).


July 4th Hours

flag-barnWe are eager to celebrate America's birthday and want all of our staff to be able to enjoy the time with their families & friends. But, of course, we want to make sure you know when our staff and facilities are available so here's a handy outline of next week:

  • All facilities will be open until 5 p.m. on July 3.
  • All facilities will be closed July 4.
  • All facilities will be open 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. on July 5.
  • All facilities will be closed July 6 and July 7.
  • Normal hours resume July 8.

We hope you enjoy the week with family, friends, fireworks, hot buttered sweet corn, grilled burgers and a healthy dose of patriotic thanksgiving for America!



Turfgrass seed head production

The time of year is upon us when your turf starts to take on a brownish cast due to seed head production. The driving purpose of most plants is to perpetuate their species by reproduction and each year, grasses will attempt to put out a seed head for just that purpose.

Why does turf look so brown and straw-like during seed head production? Because the plant is reallocating resources toward reproduction and taking a large majority of the carbohydrates  normally put toward shoot and root growth away. Also, seed head stalks have a completely different texture than the leaf blades you normally mow, which is what results in that straw-like, brownish-tan appearance.

In the upper midwest, we are already mostly past the time for Kentucky bluegrass to produce seed heads, but the ryegrass period is upon us now in most areas or just around the corner. Perennial ryegrass has much thicker seed head stalks and therefore, will look even rougher after mowing than does Kentucky bluegrass. If you want to minimize this appearance in your turf, it’s important to stay on top of your mowing regimen and not allow the plant to fully ‘go to seed,’ which will result in an even rougher appearance. But, you can never fully keep the grass plant from trying to produce a seed head… Or can you?

I was out at the Iowa State University Horticulture Research station meeting with Dan Strey, the turfgrass research superintendent, the other day and he pointed out one of my old research projects to me where two different levels of fertility were applied in strips for at least 4 years. The two rates of nitrogen making up these strips had always looked different with regard to color, but now there is a distinct difference in seed head production. One strip was full of seed heads as you would normally expect, while the other had virtually no seed heads in it. My memory indicated that the higher fertility level were the strips that had no seed heads in them and I confirmed it after getting back to the office and looking at the old plot plan. Take a look at this photograph:

turf strips

The whitish looking strip on the left is full of seed heads and received 0.5 lbs of N per month during the growing season for a total of 3.5 lbs N per year. The greener looking strip received 1.0 lbs of N per month during the growing season for a total of 7.0 lbs N per year. The other interesting thing to note is that urea was the source of nitrogen and it has been over a year since these applications were made, yet the differences are still drastic. Normally urea is thought of as a ‘flash in the pan’ type fertilizer, but there a few studies I did at Iowa State that showed it to be much longer lasting than previously thought, especially when the bank of nitrogen was built up over the course of a year or more.

The reason the seed head production was lower with the higher rate of nitrogen is that when nitrogen is supplied in excess, the plant allocates the nitrogen into shoot growth (and some root growth) and delays maturation of the plant. Essentially, the additional nitrogen keeps the plant doing what it would do at a juvenile stage while working its way up to reproduction. Obviously, the cost of applying this much nitrogen and the potential leaching of it into groundwater isn’t enough to offset dealing with seed heads in your turf, but I just found it interesting that it is possible to delay certain physiological events in the plant’s life by modifying the amount of nitrogen it receives. With all that said, the plant will eventually make its way to reproduction, so don’t get any ideas about totally doing away with seed head production. I will have Dan continue to monitor the situation and report back when the higher nitrogen areas start to produce seed heads.


Influence of Gypsum on Crop Yields at South Dakota State University

Gypsum, calcium sulfate (CaSO4 . 2H20), is naturally occurring mineral mined for many purposes. Gypsum has calcium content of 23% and sulfur content of 19%. In agriculture it is used for treating sodium affected soils. The calcium in the applied gypsum will displace sodium on the soil cation exchanged capacity. This is a mass action process; therefore large amounts of calcium are required.

  • Published in Corn

What does all this rain mean to your field?


Obviously, it’s been a cool, cloudy and wet spring. So much so that corn planting, as of last week, stands at only 88%, 11% behind the five-year average of 99%. Only 44% of the soybean crop has been planted, way behind the 99% we experienced last year at this time. The stark weather contrast between this year and last has not only limited farmers’ ability to get into their fields, but also may have consequences in regards to soil fertility.

During drought conditions, it is normal for a ‘bank’ of nitrogen to be stored in the soil as there isn’t sufficient moisture to move it in the soil, so it stays put. Soil samples taken by Iowa State last fall indicated that it may be possible to have upwards of 100 lbs N/A carryover to this season, which is roughly double what may normally carry over from year to year. However, with all of the moisture that has fallen this spring, a significant amount of that nitrogen may have already leached out of the soil.

My suspicion is that the same thing may be happening with sulfate as well. Observations that I’ve made as I drove past corn fields last week generally show a yellowish, chlorotic plant that is starved for nutrition, at the V3-V6 stages on average.

The Iowa Soybean association is recommending farmers do a late-spring, pre-sidedress soil nitrate analysis in early June when the plants are 6-12 inches tall. The benefit of this test is that it predicts the amount of nitrogen available before the corn plant begins taking up more nutrients as it matures. ISA is recommending that if the test shows less than 21ppm nitrate, there is a high probability that the cost of an additional nitrogen application would be covered by the increase in yield you will see from that application. It’s completely up to the individual, but it may also be worthwhile to consider a sulfate source to sidedress along with additional nitrogen.

There are other compounding factors when soil is waterlogged for prolonged periods. Not only does the saturated soil predispose corn and other plants to disease pressure, it depletes the soil of oxygen, which has many negative impacts on plants. One of which tends to be exacerbated when it happens early in the season is restriction of root growth and development. Fortunately, we are not dealing with temperature extremes along with the saturated soil which would make the situation even worse. Things look to warm up this week; hopefully the soil will start to dry out a bit so we can all get back to our regularly scheduled growing season!




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