Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: September 2011
Calcium Product 98G


Calcium Products - Items filtered by date: September 2011

  • Published in Corn

This Isn't Rocket Science


Last week I had the opportunity to discuss crop production with Internationally known crop consultant Gary Zimmer. As we talked about a number of things, Gary said “You know this isn’t  rocket science. This is way harder! You can’t just plug numbers into a computer and get an answer.”  
Gary continued, “Farming is more than physics, its chemistry, biology, and much, much more. You are dealing with living things that almost never do what you expect them to!”
The more I think about it the more I think he is right. Launching rockets into space is a pretty regular thing these days. They do it every week, in fact in 2010 there were 74 launches
In 2010 only 1/10 that many, or seven corn farmers grew more than 300 bu of corn in the NCGA yield contest. That was out of 7125 applicants!
So next time someone says they can help you grow high yield corn ask them, “Are you smarter than a rocket scientist?”
Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at .
  • Published in Sulfur

Sulfur, Part 2: Application Rates & Timing

 By: Glen Howell

In Midwestern agriculture, there are primarily 4 fertilizers that are actively used for meeting sulfur nutritional needs. They are listed from highest to lowest sulfur concentration.  Also listed is their overall analysis & type of product composition:

Elemental Sulfur-90%S; (0-0-0-90S); dry product; sulfur is not in plant available form
Ammonium Thiosulfate (ATS)-26% S; (12-0-0-26S); liquid product
Ammonium Sulfate (AMS)-24% S; (21-0-0-24S); dry product
Potassium Magnesium Sulfate (langbeinite)-21% S; (0-0-21-21S-11Mg); dry product
Calcium Sulfate (SuperCal SO4; CaSO4; gypsum)-17%S; (0-0-0-17S-21Ca); dry product
Potassium Sulfate (SOP)-17% S; (0-0-50-17S); dry product

Crop need for sulfur

Crops need varying amounts of sulfur to complete their life cycle.  Much of what is needed for growth is recycled to the soil with plant residues, but there is a net loss with the crop removed. Organic matter (O.M.) in soil is a great sulfur source—each 1% contains 140# of sulfur—but it may not always be available when the crop needs it. 

Crop         Unit of Measure        # Sulfur/Unit of Measure        Yield-# Sulfur Removed                                                                 (Crop removal)

Corn (grain)        Bushel                   0.08#                               200 Bushels-16# S

Corn (silage)      Ton                        1.1#                                 30 Ton-33# S

Soybean (grain)  Bushel                   0.18#                                60 Bushels-10.8# S

Alfalfa/Forages  Ton                        5.4#**                   &nb

  • Published in Sulfur

Sulfur-Part 1: Solubility & Leaching

 By: Glen Howell


I have received several calls this week on sulfur.  They focused on solubility/leaching potential, application rates, application timing, and product comparisons.  We will discuss solubility & leaching potential in this part.

The solubility of any fertilizer or soil amendment is critical to a successful outcome.  In order for plants to utilize a nutrient, it must be in soil solution (the water surrounding the soil particles).  Until a nutrient dissolves & goes into this solution, it is unavailable for plant growth.  This is why applying fertilizer does not immediately result in improved plant growth, but takes time (usually days) for the material to dissolve, go into soil solution, & be taken up by plant roots, before 

Corn showing sulfur deficiency

resulting crop growth occurs.  Leaching can happen if a product is too soluble, & unfavorable weather conditions occur.  This is typically associated with heavy rains, especially during the growing season, but is possible at other times also.  We are most often concerned about leaching nitrogen, but sulfur can leach almost as easily.  

Soil particles have both positive (+) and negative (-) charges on their exchange sites.  Younger, unweathered soils, such as those found in the Midwest, have a prevalence of positive sites, referred to as cation exchange capacity (CEC), while older, highly weathered soils have more anion exchange capacity (AEC).  Opposite charges are attracted to each other, so Midwestern soils with good CEC values, can hold significant quantities of beneficial nutrients such as Calcium (Ca++), Magnesium (Mg++), Potassium (K+) & the ammonium form of Nitrogen (NH4+). Unfortunately, nitrogen does not stay in the ammonium form for long, & instead changes to the nitrate form (NO3-), which is why nitrate leaching is such a huge concern (; Sulfur must be in the sulfate form (SO4--) for plants to use it, so conditions favorable for nitrate leaching will also favor the loss of sulfates.

In the next part, we will look at application rates for sulfur fertilizers.

Other references:


Glen Howell is a contributing writer to Yield Starts Here, a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil.  His other interests include severe weather & old farm tractor


You Can't Afford to Apply Fertilizer Without A Soil Test

Midwest Labs has a great post about why you should soil test.

The main reason, the high cost of nitorgen and phosporus. We have been talking about the cost of low pH since 2008, Let's look again at what not knowing your soil pH can cost you.

Soil pH testing is the best place to start when planning a fertility program. Having low pH causes plant nutrients to be tied up. According to research done by Midwest Laboratories, a pH of 6.5 ties up 24% of available phosphorus. If your pH is 6.0, then P tie-up increases to 48%, and 24% of N is not available to your crops.


The cost of not liming soil at a 6.0 pH, 200-bushel corn goal:


Nitrogen  @ $0.54/# 

 24% unavailable  

 150#'s = $81

 $20 /a in wasted inputs


Phosphates @ $0.60/#


 48% unavailable  

 70#’s  = $42/a

 $20/a in wasted inputs


$40/a lost in wasted inputs


Yield loss of corn, resulting from low pH, 34 bushels, priced at $6.50 =

$220/a lost in yield reduction due to low pH


 A soil pH of 6 can cost your at least $260 in lost revenue.

  • Published in Sulfur

Sulfur, Finally Getting Some Respect!

It's good to see that the rest of the world is catching on to the benefits of sulfur! I had dealer tell me that in 1996 a trade publication (no longer in print) had a cover story titled "Sulfur Arrives as the 4th Major Nutrient". Well they were only off 15 years, but finally sulfur is getting the respect of researchers, farmers and is getting some press.

Check out these two great article from Corn and Soybean Digest

SuperCal SO4 is the gypsum referred to in the first article and the trial data can be found here.

We've been showing a need sulfur for it in Iowa since 2004 and on Alfalfa since 1998! Glad everyone else is figuring it out too!

More on Sulfur


Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at .


True Precision Lime


Today I received the October 2011 issue of CropLife, the magazine of a trade group that represents the developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States. The cover story was a feature on precision services an there was one other article as well as 9 more mentions of precision ag. Why do I bring this up?

With all the focus on precision ag, why are is the lime your spreading from 1960?








You spent good money to have your fields grid sampled, spent some more to have your lime applied by variable rate, so why do you put up with it blowing off the field.  


Why not choose the lime product that is a truly precision lime, SuperCal 98G. Spreads evenly and gets to the soil!



Sure you can get ag lime delivered to your field, but how do you know how much moisture is in it? How much water are you buying? This fall it is likely dry so how much blew out of the truck and off the field before it was spread?

When I worked in retail ag, the number one complaint from farmers was, you always spread my lime on a windy day.

Here is a news flash, it’s always windy in the Midwest, and the floater is driving at 15 MPH, you are going to have drift, PERIOD!

The number 2 complaint was, it didn't seem to do anything. All lime isn't the same, coarse ag lime simply doesn't work, the fines blow away, the only people that benefited from spreading ag lime is the quarry and the guy that hauled it.

This fall switch to a product with 17 years of proven performance, no magnesium, less than 1% moisture, doesn't drift, and actually changes soil pH and delivers results.

Call us at 800-255-8196, we'll be glad to show you how easy, switching to  precision lime can be!

More on Lime:


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