Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: February 2008
Calcium Product 98G

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Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: February 2008

Soil Quality - Your Life Depends on It

Your soil is the foundation for everything that happens on your farm. It is the number one ingredient for high yields. A true farmer thinks of his soil first and works to improve it. If you are just planting seeds, applying a little fertilizer, and harvesting a crop, you are not a farmer, you’re a miner.

Before I get into it, let me say we are not eco-nuts. However you need to understand that proper soil fertility leads to improved yields, healthier crops and livestock, lower input costs, and higher per acre income. Even if lack of moisture is your biggest limiting factor!

What is the cost of not properly maintaining soil quality?

Soil should act as a sponge that holds and gradually release water back to the plant. If it is ponding, running off, or out a drainage tile, it is taking valuable nutrients with it. Having a quality soil that is soft, increases infiltration and decreases loss of water and nutrients.

Average cropland erosion removes soil about 10 to 100 times faster than it forms.

Land degradation and desertification may account for as much as about 30 percent of the world's greenhouse gas releases, according to researcher Rattan Lal of Ohio State University. A quality soil will raise higher yields resulting in more carbon being stored in the soil as organic matter (OM). During the growing season the soil can release CO2 slowly resulting in higher yields and increasing OM. Low quality soils produced lower yields, resulting in decreasing OM, releasing more gasses to the atmosphere.

Currently US farmers are feeding more than 150 people. However at the current world population growth rate they will need to produce more food within the next 50 years than during the last 10,000 years combined! Genetic engineering will help, but if we do not have quality soils left to plant them in, they will not yield their full potential.

The book ""The Erosion of Civilization"" by David R. Montgomery, sums it up best. farming was the foundation of the great flourishing of Mesopotamia, but it faced two great problems: salinisation from irrigation, and soil erosion. Such erosion was also a problem in Bronze Age and classical Greece. Montgomery quotes Plato on the region around Athens: "The rich, soft soil has all run away leaving the land nothing but skin and bone."

Protect your biggest investment, protect yourself from future government regulation, protect your source of income, take care of your soil first!

 

 

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 Corn

Calcium is key to root growth

In article from Science Daily, the growth of root hair is key to a plant pushing its roots further into the soil and not popping out of the soil.

“This ability is governed by a self-reinforcing cycle. A protein at the tip of root hairs called RHD2 produces free radicals that stimulate the uptake of calcium from the soil. Calcium then stimulates the activity of RHD2, producing more free radicals and further uptake of calcium. When an obstacle blocks the hair's path, the cycle is broken and growth starts in another location and direction.”

Have hard soil and/or low calcium soil, plan on a poor root system. Even the best genetics cannot over come hard or low calcium soil.

 

 

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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Fertilizer Cost Update

For many, the cost of fertilizer is the number one topic being discussed. It doesn't take a genius to know it is going to be more expensive in the future.

This article from Wells Fargo drives the point home.

A couple of key points:

In January, the USDA reported that the US exported 193 thousand tons of nitrogen fertilizer. To put this into context, from January of 2002 to December of 2007, the US exported 152 thousand tons. The US exported 27% more in one month than in the previous 6 years.

If the rest of the world wants N at today's price, it's not going to go down.

In the case of hedging future revenues against purchases of fertilizer, the producer only needs to sell as much as the fertilizer represents in their expected cost structure. If their total cost per acre is expected to be approximately $600/acre and fertilizer represents $150/acre of that cost, the producer should sell about 30 bushels per acre to hedge off the fertilizer forward purchase.

Prices of fertilizer will continue to increase. If you listen to Elwynn Taylor there is a 70% chance that the price of grain will be higher in the future due to drought. With the volatility of the markets and cost of inputs make sure you cover your are at least covering your cost.

The exciting times are just starting, what are you doing to offset increased fertilizer prices?

 

 

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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Solve common lawn problems with SuperCal SO4

We mostly focus on row crops in our blog, however with the first day of spring here and warmer temperatures, many are thinking about their grass.

For much of the Midwest the winter was very long with lots of snow and ice. To keep sidewalks clear lots of salt was used. Excess salt creates growth problems along the edges of sidewalks and streets. SuperCal SO4 is the best product to reduce the harmful effects of salt.

 grass_burned_with_de-icing_salt.jpg
 Severe de-icer burn, image credit: www.ag.utah.gov

Have pets? SuperCal SO4 applied to urine burn spots will help facilitate faster re-growth.

 Bet burn before and after 800x300
 Love your pet, hate your lawn?

Early spring is a great time to apply SuperCal SO4 to increase water infiltration, improve root growth, and naturally aerate the soil. Applications of SuperCal SO4 improves plant vigor, keeps it greener though prolonged drought periods, provides calcium for reduced fungus, and sulfur for greener grass, and is safe for the environment.

SuperCal SO4 can be safely used at high rates on mature turf grass, but other amendments often must be used at lower rates;

Elemental Sulfur (S), should only be applied at high rates to bare soil as long as it is mixed in and left for a few weeks are allowed for equilibration. During those weeks the soil should be kept moist and soil temperatures should be above 55 degrees to allow biological conversion of S into H2SO4. Elemental S and other S sources (except gypsum) should not be applied to a mature turf grass above 5# S per 1,000 sqft to avoid foliar burn and excessive acidity at the soil surface. Sulfur fertilizers containing N are limited per application by the turf grass N requirement.

It is always best to start with a soil sample before applying any fertilizers or amendments. Once a need for SuperCal SO4 has been established use at the following rates;

Established Lawns:
40#'s per 1000 sqft applied spring and fall thoroughly watered in.

Salt affected areas:
After initial spring application, frequent applications of 10-15 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. throughout the growing season may be required to maintain optimum growing conditions. Final rates should be determined on the basis of a soil test.

New Seeding and Sod:
Apply 100 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. prior to seeding or sodding. Water thoroughly.

Heavy Clay or Compacted Soil:
Spread 100-150 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. annually in the spring and fall to maintain soil condition. Water thoroughly.

Applying SuperCal SO4 to your yard will ensure it stays green, reduce your water bill, and make you the envy of your neighbors.

 
Have the lawn of your dreams with SuperCal SO4

 

 

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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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;

Drift
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!

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Commodity Price Increase Alone, Not Enough

It is a great time to be involved in agriculture. Grain prices are high and many farmers are replacing badly needed infrastructure and equipment. With the record grain prices, record amounts of fertilizer are being applied to fields in an attempt to maximize yield. In addition to the agricultures boom, the US dollar continues to devalue, sending oil to record highs. Since the majority of fertilizer manufacturing requires significant amounts of oil, it has (bad pun warning) added fuel to the fire.

A few stats from the USDA

Total Production Expenses increased 10.5% in 2007 and are expected to increase 8.6% in 2008. The sixth strait year of increases since 2002. Expenses are expected to eat 75% of all farm income in 2008.

Fertilizer up 20.2% in 2007 will increase 18.4% in 2008. Mainly due to 57% rise in potash and phosphates.

Fuel and oil are expected to increase 12.6% in 2008 following an 11.5% rise in 2007. The annual average fuel price has increased by double-digit percentages, six straight years since 2002, and is projected to have risen 159% from 2002 to 2008. Electricity rates should rise almost 2 percent, which, combined with the increase in total output, should push electricity expenses up 4.0 percent.

The good news is that net farm income is expected to increase 10.3%. Net cash income (cash income earned after out-of-pocket expenses) is money available to pay debt obligations, taxes, and family living expenses. It is an indicator of the farm sector's cash flow and liquidity.

With many farmers feeling relatively good about the economic forecast, making good money, even with record input prices, why change what your doing. Now is the time to try new things, adjust production practices and push yields. Many of the NCGA’s corn growing champions are hitting the 300 bu mark. On many of their acres they have increased the farm average 20-40 bushels in a couple of years. Yes, their expenses did increase, but those expenses generated more income, not more bills. So if you spend $20 per acre to gain 20 bushels, then at $3 per bushel you have a 3x return on each dollar. At $5 corn it is a 5x return.

What are you doing differently? Are you actively seeking products and services to increase the productivity of the biggest income generator on your farm (soil)? Are you doing the same things you were 3 or 4 years ago, spending 40-50% more and not increasing yields. What will you do when the commodity prices drop and inputs stay high?

 

 

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!   

Read more...

2008 Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference

This week I attended the 2008 Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference, held biennially in Denver Colorado. This program is put on by the International Plant Nutrition Institute and is attended by over 100 Industry and Academic Agronomy Researchers.

Over 40 research papers are presented in this 2-day program. While the pace of the presentations is quite fast there is ample time to discuss ideas, and new agronomy techniques with many of agricultures best-known researchers.

Jerry Hatfield presented “The Implications of Biofuels Production on Soil Productivity”. While removal of crop residue after harvest is viewed as a major source of cellulosic material, the implications need to be considered. Removal of large amounts of nutrients, decrease in soil organic matter, decrease is soil water holding capacity, leading to severe soil crusting and other environmental impacts.

Mr. Hatfield has authored many papers on soil quality, organic matter and carbon. So many I didn’t even consider counting them. In one of his previous papers on achieving high yields he states,

“Achieving high yields is not an art but requires the implementation of an understanding of the principles that affect yield. To achieve high yields requires patience to first improve the soil and then begin to adopt management strategies that increase the efficiency of water, solar radiation, and N use. Evaluation of how these factors respond each season for the crops grown in the field and then compare against the county average will determine if progress is being made toward achieving the higher yields.”

Understanding what you are doing, why your doing it, and measuring the results is what it takes to achieve high yields.

Dr. Robert Miller gave a great presentation on ""Impact of Grid Point Sampling Intensity on Phosphorus and Potassium Uncertainty”. What this means is, if you are grid sampling, are they pulling enough soil cores for the composite to be sure that it is an accurate test of what is actually in the soil. Though his research he found that full tillage, minimal tillage and no-till needed different amounts of cores to be sure of accurate sampling. Full tillage means the soil is more uniformly mixed so 6-8 cores per sample point gives an accurate test, in minimal tillage shoot for 8-12. For no-till the best accuracy will require between 26-40 cores. Since no one has the time to do that many, we have to settle for less accuracy and pull 12-14 cores. This gives a 20% variability in the sample readings.

While not all the presentations are directly related to the crops and climate most of our customer’s farm, I always come away with new and helpful information. You must constantly looking for new information to increase yields, start with the basics, (soil sampling, liming, building nutrient levels) and build on that.

 

 

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!   

Read more...
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