Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: September 2007
Calcium Product 98G

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Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: September 2007

Why increasing soil quality is more important than new technology

I just read an article from Corn and Soybean Digest by John Pocock. The main trust of the article is that 250- bushel average corn yield will be the norm by 2025. If that is the average there will be above average farmers averaging 300 bushels. The story states that to attain those yield goals either more irrigation is needed or a drought tolerant corn will need to be planted.

In order to reach 200 bushels a corn plant needs around 22 inches of water uptake. To reach 300 bushels the plant would need close to 33 inches of water uptake. The problem is that it usually only rains 16-21 inches a year in the corn belt.

I have two thoughts on that, instead of a focus on irrigation, increase the water infiltration rate of your soil. Corn variety won’t matter if you soil has as hard pan 4” down, the best hybrids will fail.

If your soil is a silt loam, it is going to hold about 2” of water per foot. If you topsoil is 5’ deep then the soil could hold 10” of water. In the case of the field in my previous blogs, I could only push a shovel in about 4”. That soil will only hold a little over 1/2” of water! Anything over that 1/2” will sit on the surface and evaporate or runoff.

With all the rain this we have had this fall, your soil profile should be full. However if you have a hardpan, sealed soil surface do to incorrect salt levels or over tillage, than most of the rain it ran off to the nearest river or lake. SuperCal SO4 pelletized gypsum, helps open you soil so more water goes into the soil to be available for plant use next spring.

 

 

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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Quality Soil Update

This week I have shown pictures of the difference between a quality soil and poor soil.

shovels.JPG

Since my last update on Wednesday we received an additional half in of rain through Thursday. This brings the 7 day total to close to 3 inches. The really neat thing is that the top 1/2 inch of the quality soil in the garden area is already dry! We have had one day of light wind and sun. The field/poor soil is still sopping wet. (Note I will also be taking soil samples so we can compare them that way.)

So with more rain in the forcast for early next week if you had quality soil you would be back in the field harvesting while your neighbor watches.

You can start improving you soil, plant sooner and harvest quicker or watch your corn and beans shell and lodge. As a bonus for having quality soil it compacts less when you do have to operate in less than optimal conditions and will stick to your boots and equipment less making it a little more tollerable to be working.

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and I hope everyone gets back into the field really soon!

Calcium Products, lower inputs costs, higher yields, harvesting before your neighbors

 

 

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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Improving Water Infiltration

In the last blog, a pictorial of high quality soil, we showed some pictures showing the difference in poor soil quality and good soil quality and its effect on water infiltration.

After 1 day of sun the ponding decreased, however an additional 0.5” resulted in ponding again, the garden did not pond.

field_garden_drying_small_800x464.jpg

 

Poor infiltration leads to in-season water stress. Water stress limits the development of young plants and reduces grain fill and development fruiting plants. Water stress also raises leaf temperature, which increases the likelihood of severe spider mite infestations.

Slow water intake reduces irrigation efficiency since a greater portion of the water applied is lost to evaporation. Finally, slow water intake increases the potential for compaction since planting and harvesting are often performed before the soil is sufficiently dry.

Slow water intake can result in prolonged standing water, which reduces the needed oxygen required for proper soil health. Standing water can cause N loss by waterlogging soil bacteria. The bacteria starving for oxygen, will scavenge oxygen from soil nitrate. As a side effect, these scavenging bacteria break down the nitrate molecules, causing de-nitrification.

The Common causes of poor infiltration are:
1. Compaction of surface soil from traffic.
2. High sodium content (Na) causes soil particles to be forced apart chemically (called deflocculation). This can result in surface sealing by reducing pore size.
3. Inadequate salt content of the surface soil is just as big a factor in slow infiltration as high content. Irrigating with low salt water (less than 250ppm) or excessive rainfall, which is very low in salt content eventually, leaches enough salts from the surface soil to reduce its structure. This creates smaller pore spaces, which have higher surface tension, and less permeability.
4. Subsurface soils with distinctly different texture are often overlooked as a water related problem. It does not cause slow infiltration at the soil surface; rather it limits downward movement of water into the lower root zone. Soils of different texture vary greatly in the number and size of air spaces through which water travels. When downward moving water encounters a zone of different soil texture, it must overcome the surface tension created by the different pore size. Saturated soil conditions occur above the layer until sufficient pressure (head) builds up to overcome this.

 

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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A Pictorial of High Quality Soil

We talk a lot about having good soil quality. What does that mean exactly for the farmer. When it rains excessively for a couple of days, you'll be in your field a day or two before your neighbors. Roots will penetrate deeper with less energy required, which means more energy goes to grain development. Deeper roots mean more access to moisture and better standablity.


The following are some pictures showing the difference between a quality soil and a poor soil.

infiltration_difference_in_soil_quality.JPG 

This a picture of my garden and a neighboring field. This has been a garden for two years. The field is a corn soybean rotation. It was field cultivated this spring, then planted to seed corn.

 

end_row_shovel.JPG

This is a shovel in the end rows. I stepped on the shovel with one foot, placing all my weight (260#) on it. It only penetrated 3-4"". This is pretty compacted, with poor water infiltration. Note corn roots generally cannot penetrate more than 300 psi. My estimate is that the shovel had over 350 psi on it.

 

end_row_t_line.JPG

This picture shows the hole I dug in the end rows. It became impossible to dig after 14"". I had to use the shovel as a pick to chip away the soil. It shows the tillage line about 4"" down. You can see the soil is saturated to that point, after that it is moist, but not wet.

 

shovel_in_field.JPG

Just for comparison I stepped on the shovel 150 yards out into the field. It did not go in much farther than on the end rows. Also you can see excessive ponding of water signifying poor structure, poor infiltration, and compaction.

 

garden_shovel.JPG

This picture shows the shovel in the garden. It slid in all the way very easily with about half my weight applied.

 

garden_hole.JPG

This is the hole dug into the garden. It dug easily to a depth of 21". Note - no saturation of soil.
In the field the shovel only penetrated 4", in the garden the shovel easily penetrated 12". If the shovel cannot penetrate the ground roots will not be able to either. 

 

garden_structure.JPG

This picture shows that high quality soil stays aggregated even during heavy rain events.

 

 

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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Popular or Succesful Farming

Dan Davidson with DTN does a great job with is blog. If you haven’t checked it out I recommend it. His article “Mainstream or Sideline Agronomy” got me thinking.

Mainstream agronomy has become popular agronomy. Popular agronomy has us thinking that if we use the latest and greatest, then we too can achieve top yields. While many of these products do a great job, most have forgot about the basics, and are failing to reach top yields.

As the saying goes what’s old is new again. Many top growers are returning to the basics. Since no one has the patent on improving soil organic matter and bulk density, they do not get much promotion. Many sideline agronomic practices are really the basics that everyone has forgotten.

I was speaking with a farmer at a farm show; he said that he was not getting the yield his neighbors did. He was not sure why. I asked if he had done soil samples, he said yes, but they were not back. I started to explain that when working to improve fertility, there were no silver bullets, his reply was, I would be happy with a plain old lead bullet.

This is a pretty typical of most people, give me something that works fast, is cheap and solves my problem. The successful farmers know that true solutions are never easy, seldom cheap, but actually solve the problem!

In the quest to apply quick fixes, and new technology, many have forgot the basics. The top growers sited in Dan’s article have not. They start with the soil; they don’t treat it like dirt. They understand that having the right amount of air in the soil has a big impact on yield. They understand the difference between adequate levels and the right levels of pH, and nutrients. Through their own hard work (i.e. understanding the basics), and on farm testing they know what works on their soils.

Top growers know that SuperCal 98G pelletized lime and SuperCal SO4 pelletized gypsum are basic steps in improving and maintaining soil quality. Top growers demand SO4 and 98G, they demand the best. They know that taking care of basics is where the yield is made.

 

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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  • Published in Calcium

But I save 5 bucks on applicaton

We have all heard ag lime doesn’t drift that much, or we pick our days to spread ag lime, or we have it watered so it doesn’t drift.

 

 precision_ag_lime_3.JPG

You are easily losing up to 25% to drift*. Putting on 2 tons per acre, up to 1000 lbs is not being spread where you want it. It could be drifting across the road, or if you are variable rate applying your lime it could easily be drifting on to an area that does not need any lime. Very costly since your paying extra for the applicator to NOT apply it on some areas. Fine ground ag lime is costing you more than you think.

Even if the source is a high calcium lime, fine ground, with water applied to reduce drift, how much water did you pay for? The quarry will not take the time to figure it out, and they likely added the water before they weighed your lime. Even if the water was added after they weighed the truck, are you getting it spread evenly? From my experience it is very difficult to get an even spread. The heavy particles fall right behind the floater, while the fine particles drift away.

lime_stripes.jpg

Applying lime in the pelletized form is the only way to guarantee you are getting what you pay for. SuperCal 98G is a high cal, finely ground, low moisture, pelletized lime. It is the industries highest quality pel lime. It is sized to unsure uniform particle size to spread evenly.

SuperCal 98G pelletized lime can be applied at a much lower rate than ag lime. You’re not buying water, large particles that do nothing, ever, or losing 1/4 to drift. Sure it may not last as long as ag lime (Actually, there is no difference between how long ag-lime and 98G lasts. The courser particles do nothing therefore only the fine particlesdo the work and they should do it in the same time frame. You get more fine particles on the ground with 98G than ag-lime after spreading), because it starts to work right away! You wouldn’t buy seed that doesn’t grow for 3 years, or pay for equipment for 3 years before you can use it. Why would you buy a crop input that doesn’t provide yield advantage for 3 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!  

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Using PAM to increase production

Were not going to talk about the handy and tasty vegetable spray. We want you to introduce you to PAM, a.k.a polyacrylamides. While increasing soil quality and organic matter to combat soil erosion is the ultimate goal, PAM is a product that can help today. There have been many acres of marginal ground broken in the last year, some soil is highly erodible, some is of poor quality. SuperCal 98G and SuperCal SO4 will help improve the soil structure over time, PAM can help reduce erosion and increase infiltration the moment it’s applied.

PAM is an environmentally friendly, water-soluble substance that binds soil into particles that are too large to be carried away by typical runoff. PAM binds particles of silt and clay together, making them more resistant to erosion.

In the U.S., PAM is used extensively in potable water treatment, for dewatering of sewerage sludges, washing and pealing of fruits and vegetables, clarification of sugar juice and liquor, in adhesives and paper in contact with food, as thickeners and suspending agents in animal feeds, in cosmetics. No significant negative impacts have been documented for aquatic, or crop species when PAM is applied at recommended concentrations and rates.

PAM has proven to

Reduce sediment runoff soil loss 80% - 98%
Increases water infiltration up to 60%
Lowers concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus & pesticides in runoff water
Reduces hardening and crusting of soils
Aids in plant growth on high-grade slopes

 

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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Fall Update

It's been a busy summer for us at Calcium Products. The website got a face lift, the SO4 plant has been expanded, and new products have been developed and tested.

The building for the expansion has been completed. We are now waiting for the last of the production line equipment. We are hoping for the installation of the equipment to be finished before the end of the year.

There has been incredible demand for SuperCal SO4 this past year and we are currently sold out for the rest of the year. The plant expansion will allow us to increase production of SuperCal SO4 by 50%.

We have been testing a number of new products over the summer. While most are still in the development stage, and I cannot talk much about them, I can talk about HydraSave. HydraSave is our Ultra Premium Greens Grade Gypsum. HydraSave is an ultra small prill, eliminating the dust that comes with powdered products, but allows you to spread it in the morning, water and play golf with no residual product.

We will be launching HydraSave in spring of '08. We have already received a number of request from top course superintendents across the midwest. We have tested this product for a number of years, it transformed Spring Valley, see what it can do for your course.

This fall proves to be busy as well. The tradeshow circuit is in full swing. We had a booth at the Redwood Falls Farm Show, and talked with many of customers and friends from Minnesota and Iowa. This coming weekend we will be down at Springfield, MO at the Ozark Fall Farm Fest.

It is that time of year for fertilizer and lime spreading. We have been working hard to explain the difference of 98G over ag lime. I think the following picture explains it best.

lime_truck.jpg     

I don't know anyone that would throw money in the air, watching it blow across the county. This is exactly what happens when you spread ag lime. The portion of lime that does you any good, does not even land on your property.

Make your expensive fertilizer work harder for you, buy lime that actually lands in your field. Use SuperCal 98 Pelletized lime.

Calcium Products, lower input costs, higher yields, keeping you informed

 

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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