Working for Calcium Products has conditioned me to think about technical science, chemistry and how I see things. For me, farm shows are an opportunity to see things from our customer’s prospective. Some company reps don’t like the interaction and tough questions but I love it!
Recently, I had one farmer say, “What’s so ‘super’ about SuperCal 98G? My agronomist says, to the plant all nitrogen is the same, all phosphate, etc.. Therefore, all lime is the same, except for tons per acre rate. I used pell lime once, so what makes yours ‘super’?”
At first, I was a little defensive and wanted to launch into a ten-minute, scorched earth, take no prisoner rant about SuperCal 98G. Instead, I thought about it. I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the calcium carbonate part of SuperCal 98G but not always a lot on the ‘super’ part. Then, I thought about the Superman movie.
What make Superman super is not just his talents but how he uses them. If you think about it, SuperCal 98G and Superman have a lot in common.
SOURCE: All limestone is different based on the time and method of formation. Calcium Products uses a 98% calcium carbonate deposit. More carbonate, the component necessary for pH correction, than almost all other deposits. Also, SuperCal 98G is extremely low in magnesium— less that .50%. Magnesium changes pH, but it also reduces pore space in soils. Great if you are farming sand, but less water movement means more runoff of water and nutrients, poor drainage and less oxygen space for growing plants. Superman is from a unique place, too.
SURFACE AREA: All that carbonate is wasted unless the soil can react with it. The surface area, or portion of particle in contact with the soil is the ONLY area where the release of H2, which is the cause of the acidity, can occur. SuperCal 98G has over 90% of its particles pass through a 200 mesh screen, (200 wires across a square inch, lots of surface area!). Ag lime is a mix of leftover quarry tailings that has large, medium and small particles that may average 30 mesh. The larger the particle the longer time before you see pH correction occur. Some companies pelleted these leftovers and sold it as “pell lime.”
TIME: Pop quiz: Which of the following is true?
A) The Titantic took 3 years to build.
B) Hoover Dam took 3 years to build.
C) Ag lime takes 3 years to work.
D) All of the above.
Answer: D. All of the above. According to university data, apply ag lime and wait three years before the improved nutrient availability (N, P, K) improves yield just to cover the cost of ag lime and its application.
SIZE: SuperCal 98G is pretty “super” because it is over 4 times smaller than ag lime. Superman, too is over 4 times stronger than the average man.
SITE-SPECIFIC: What good is source and surface area if you can’t place it where the plants need it? SuperCal 98G has uniform, hard pellets that spread evenly with a fan or air boom machine then dissolve with water. Think about the technology and financial investment retailers and farmers make on all other inputs to make sure they end up where each plant is so each plant can reach its yield potential. Ag lime is a variable weight and size product spread with machinery that relies on centrifugal force and particle weight. Heavy, large particles, (with a small amount of surface area), are thrown farthest away. Smaller particles can’t be placed away from the machine and they blow with the wind. Precision placement with SuperCal 98G is a site-specific product. Ag lime doesn’t belong in the same sentence as precision ag. For Superman, the whole x-ray vision thing and freezing things with his breath are, thankfully, site-specific.
STEWARDSHIP: Right crop, right nutrient, right time and right place are common buzzwords for taking an environmentally responsible approach to farming. If farmers don’t manage their products and applications well, the government has demonstrated it will step in, as it has with nitrogen and phosphate in some areas. Properly placed SuperCal 98G, because the pH correction occurs only ¼ inch around a particle, allows other inputs to be used by the plant and not washed away or the investment wasted. Which appears more ‘stewardly’ to our non-ag neighbor — blowing ag lime or placed SuperCal 98G? Superman covered in dust? Please!
SuperCal 98G performs like super hero. It tackles pH by being a great sourced product, with a large surface area, intentionally placed where the plant and the soil benefit and all of this done in an environmentally sound way.
While SuperCal 98G really is worthy of the ‘super’ title, it’s unlikely that the next time you see me, I will be showing you sample of SuperCal 98G with a little “S’s” on them. With certainty, I can assure you will never see me in blue tights and a red cape at the next farm show!