Saturday, September 26, 2009


"Calcium has always taken a back seat to the "big boys" of soil fertility. The industry buzz is usually nitrogen and new forms are frequently being released to the market. Referred to as a secondary nutrient behind nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, calcium is finally starting to take its place in the ranks of important plant nutrients. It is true that NPK is used in greater percentages than calcium, but calcium is used more by weight and volume than any other nutrient.

Practically speaking, calcium is rarely considered as a nutrient at all! Instead the focus on calcium has been more as a soil buffer to help adjust pH. Calcium is of huge importance to both the plant and the soil in many more ways than simply moving the pH scale. It plays a major role in the physiology of the plant, strengthening its physical structure and helping in protection from disease attack. In the soil, the importance of calcium is many fold, including the reduction of soil compaction and helping to provide a better environment for the proliferation of beneficial microbes. Some research even suggests that calcium plays a role in decreasing weed populations."

I researched calcium again as I understand its importance in life and its effect on soil productivity.. I have tried to apply lime containing calcium to plant producing soil whenever needed. It is difficult to get enough calcium on the ground in many midwestern and other soils like Ohio has.

If you own your own ground, I think calcium is a pretty obvious nutrient and substance to add to improve your soil productivity.

If you don't own your own land you have to look at the lease and how can you justify spending the money to bring the calcium up to an affordable level that will pay off in the term of the lease. This is especially true in short term leasees. You never know when that lease might end. Too many farmers have been caught in this situation and that becomes their number one concern when I recommend more lime for their field.

As a landowner, calcium is your friend and needs to be applied according to soil test. I also use a tissue test on a crop and make sure it is getting enough. Many I took this year came out low. I call it too wet and too cool for good mineral uptake. The magnesium content in Ohio soil is so high that it rarely comes out low or deficient, usally calcium does first.
Test your soil and look at your lime content. Look what calcium does for your soil.
It will make up for lots of things out of your control and is in your control.
Ed Winkle

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