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Interaction of zinc and calcium

Zinc is an extremely important micronutrient that has many roles in plant health and deficiencies are widespread, even if unknown to the grower. Recommendations for zinc levels in soils are dependent on crop, soil type, pH and other nutrient status and can range depending on which institution is offering the recommendation. Generally speaking, below 1ppm on your soil test indicates that you should apply some type of zinc fertilizer. However, growers should pay attention to their soil tests and site-specific factors, because while 1ppm of zinc in one soil type may be sufficient, 4ppm in another soil with zinc antagonists may be a better target. Deficiency symptoms are generally seen in new growth, early in the life cycle of the plant and result in stunted growth, shortened, sometimes split internodes and discoloration of new leaves—the color of which can vary depending on plant species. Internally, zinc deficiency can result in…

More sulfur updates...

While reading the 2012 Annual Farm Progress Reports from Iowa State University's Northern Research Farm in Kanawha, IA, we discovered another trial investigating sulfur fertilization via gypsum on corn. The impetus for the study was the same as the Iowa Soybean Association's; sulfur deficiencies are becoming widespread in both corn and alfalfa in Iowa and many other midwestern states. The experiment was performed by Dr. John Sawyer and David Rueber of Iowa State University. Four rates of sulfur (5, 10, 20, 40 lbs/A) were applied to two different soils—one with low organic matter and a slope, and one with higher OM and less slope—as was a non-treated control (no sulfur) to compare differences throughout 2011 and 2012. These rates were applied to corn in 2011 and soybeans in 2012. The 2011 plots were planted to corn after soybean in 2011 and planted to corn again in 2012 to test residual…

Calcium nitrate-what is it?

I have had some recent questions about calcium nitrate. Calcium nitrate, chemically known as ammonium calcium nitrate decahydrate (5Ca(NO3)2*NH4NO3*10H2O), is a white, hygroscopic, dry water-soluble material. It is 15.5% nitrogen and 19% calcium (15.5-0-0-19Ca). It is produced by reacting nitric acid with crushed phosphate ore and then neutralized with ammonia. It is considered a 'double growth' fertilizer, since both the calcium and the nitrate contribute to plant growth. It is highly hygroscopic, and needs to be stored in a cool, dry location. Some formulations are coated to help retard moisture absorption during storage. Compared to other nitrogen fertilizers such as urea or ammonium nitrate, it receives little attention. Many of the discussions I have heard about it originated from biological farmers, and they gave excellent reviews of its attributes. Several commented that using calcium nitrate, and calcium sulfate (SuperCal SO4) together produced some great results. Because of its hygroscopic properties,…

Agri-Trend 2012: Farm Forum Event

Our own Craig Dick is headed north to the Agri-Trend 2012: Farm Forum Event in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. It's a conference and trade show and we're thrilled to be there with our distributor, ENR Distribution. Craig will actually be speaking on Wednesday afternoon. He is going to cover the agronomic role soil pH, calcium and sulfur play in soil fertility and high yielding crops. If you're at the event, come learn why you can't afford to ignore these critical yield increasing items. If Craig gets a chance to attend other sessions, he'll be tweeting about them with the hashtag #FFE12. Follow us on Twitter to read the insight he shares.


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