Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: June 2009
Calcium Product 98G

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Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: June 2009

  • Published in Corn

Boron, Micronutrient - Macro Benefit

The details are always hardest to manage. It’s getting the small things right that determine whether we are successful or not. While it is important to have  proper soil pH and available calcium. Many farmers overlook the small details; like understanding that micronutrients are the catalysts for big yield gains. Boron is the catalyst that makes calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, carbon, and potassium more available to your crop.

Only a few of Earth's naturally occurring chemical elements make up living matter. Just six of them; carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and sulfur, make up for 99% of all living tissues. Nevertheless, other minerals or trace elements are crucial for all vital functions even if this may be in extremely low dosages. Some of these, such as iron, copper, cobalt, zinc or manganese, are required by all living forms. Boron is one of those crucial elements, proven essential for the structure of plants.

Any soil test you conduct should be a complete soil test such as Midwest Labs S3C test. That test includes, base saturation, including sodium, and a full micronutrient package. In many of the tests we look at, we see more and more test coming back with very low boron readings. Boron has been much overlooked in the past, but many are discovering the benefits of this micronutrient.

Boron Function

Adequate boron nutrition is critical for high yields and quality crops. The main functions of boron relate to cell wall strength and development, cell division, fruit and seed development, sugar transport, and hormone development. Boron affects sugar transport in plants, flower retention, pollen formation, and germination. Boron is needed in protein synthesis and is associated with increased cellular activity that promotes maturity, increases flower set, and fruit yield and quality. Boron also affects nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism and water and sap flow in the plant.

Photosynthesis transforms sunlight energy into plant energy compounds such as sugars. For photosynthesis to continue, the sugars must be moved away from the site where they are made and stored or used to make other compounds. Boron increases the rate of transport of sugars to actively growing regions and to developing fruit (grain). Boron is essential for providing sugars which are needed for root growth in all plants and also for normal development of root nodules in legumes such as alfalfa, soybeans and peanuts.

Since boron is non-mobile in plants (like calcium), a continuous supply from the soil is required in all plant growing points. In mineral soils, release of boron is usually quite slow. Much of the available soil boron is held rather tightly by soil organic material. As organic matter decomposition occurs, boron is released with a portion being absorbed by plants, some leaching below the root zone area (especially in acid soil), or tied up under alkaline soil conditions.

Boron Deficiency and Excess

Boron deficiencies are found in acid soil, sandy soils, soils with low organic matter, and in regions of high rainfall. Borate ions (soluble boron) are mobile in soil and can be leached from the root zone. Boron availability also decreases on heavy clay and high pH soils. Soils with a high pH (at 7.5 pH boron becomes fixed) or which have just been heavily limed, have a limited amount of boron available for plant growth. Boron deficiencies are more pronounced during drought periods when root activity is restricted.

 

 

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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Tomatoes, 2009

I (Glen) eagerly look forward each year to enjoying the summertime treats.  Sweet corn and tomatoes head the list of my favorites.  However, with this year's cool summer weather, there has been a delay in enjoying the bounty. 

An article in the Des Moines Register, talks about a delay in arrival, but suggests there will not a decrease in quality or taste.

I am hesitant to agree.  Our garden at home is filled with tomato plants ( I spent most of Saturday caging them with woven wire for containment & more support), and the plants are huge.  Many of them are at least 4' tall.  If you look really close, there is a 55 gallon drum, standing on edge, underneath the sprinkler.

I have also observed the onset of calcium deficiency, also known as blossom end-rot.  I have broadcast SO4 in 3 separate applications this year, but intentionally omitted 2 plants.  These plants are showing symptoms of deficiency (water soaking on the fruit & leathery looking leaves).

My conclusion?  Many plants, including tomatoes, are growing more slowly this year.  Quality will also be affected, but having adequate nutrient availability (calcium) will help mitigate 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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The Cost of Doing Nothing

When you have problem fields you can do nothing or figure out what is wrong and why it is not yielding. Once you have figured out the problem you still have the choice of doing nothing, but why would you?

Maybe your yields have been depressed on you farms for so long that cash flow and operating credit is low. Maybe you followed bad advice one too many times and are now gun shy. It might be that you are trying to do too much on your farm and really don’t have the time to look over things properly and make the right decisions, or maybe it’s all the above.

If you did get past step one and found out you have a problem, if you don’t solve it, what is that costing you?

If you have low pH, the price of lime to fix the problem is $7-$70 per acre, depending on your level of problem. If you don’t lime your field is could cost you 25% of your nitrogen bill, 25-50% of your phosphorus and potash bill, and 20 to 70% of your yield.

Forget the lost income from the fertilizers not working to their full potential, on a pH of 5.5-5.8 you could easily be 50 bushels behind a 6.5-6.8 soil. Even at $2 corn that is $100 in lost income. While it’s true nothing is sure, liming acid soil is about the closest thing in farming to working 100% of the time.

So this fall will you again do nothing, make excuse to cut costs and continue to wait to treat the problem, or will you trade $25 per acre for $100 or $200 per acre profit?

 

 

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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Onions & SO4

Take care when applying SO4

I (Glen) decided last week that our garden was needing some calcium.  The soil structure had declined considerably since earlier this spring, and it was becoming difficult to till (hoe).  I was also wanting to increase the quality of the potatoes and reduce the onset of blossom end rot in tomatoes.

Thursday evening I applied SO4.  It was very difficult to get between the rows of potatoes, so I top spread the area, and then turned on the water for 2 hours.  Friday morning, my wife harvested some onions, which were near the potatoes, and was surprised that she couldn't stand to eat them.  She also couldn't stand to cut the tops off of more than 2-3 at a time without tears. 

Conclusion: the sulfur level in the onion had increased significantly.

Lesson learned & a very evident (tearful) demonstration of the solubility of SO4.  In this case, less than 12 hours & 0.4" of water were sufficient for the product to break down & be taken up by the plant.  If you have plants that you don't want to more pungent (radishes, peppers), please take care when applying 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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  • Published in Calcium

A Note of Thanks

Last year Alberto Ferracuti, a coffee grower from El Salvador contacted me. He was having trouble getting good yields. I explained that I had no experience with coffee or soil from his region. He said that the people with experience in coffee had not helped him and wanted me to look at his soil samples.

After faxing me his soil tests we made recommendations. Due to the high cost of freight Alberto was unfortunately not able to use or products. He did follow our recommendations and he has called me twice this year to inform me of the dramatic improvements. Here is the last email I received from him.

Craig, I decided to email you this note of thanks, since I cannot buy your product due to its prohibitive cost (Freight to El Salvador). I have no doubt it is great, as is your comments in your blog.
 
I have witnessed how calcium has played a very important role in a variety of ways, the most evident being much better utilization of nutrients existing in soils, not to mention those applied in fertilizers. This year, when the rains started in May, I saw my coffee trees respond heavily to the high organic matter content (7%). Populations of earthworms are up, probably microbes and bacteria too. The end result is that we are now at July and I have not applied one ounce of nitrogen to the trees, you should see how they look!!! like you had applied nitrogen twice. I have no doubt bacteria are at work nitrifying organic matter and to add nitrogen at this juncture would be giving excess nitrates to the soil. Maybe we could chat over the phone ? let me know.
 
Alberto

Thanks for the note and call Alberto, helping farmers grow better yields and better quality is what it is all about!

 

 

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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