Monday, June 10, 2013

Calcium

"Whenever I look at society, there is one aspect of it that really makes my blood boil! It just sets me on fire. No, it isn't the messed up political system, it isn't heartless corporations hell-bent to make a profit, and no, it isn't our fiat currency that may soon take a tumble. Actually it is a lot closer to home. When I look around my community and see people dying from cancer and other degenerative diseases I get angry--really angry. This shouldn't be happening!

The nutrient delivery system from geological deposits, going to soil, into our food, and finally nourishing our bodies has been broken. To properly function, this nutrient delivery system must begin with ...Calcium.

Calcium is such an important mineral and is absolutely vital to all biology.  Soils display various patterns based on geographical region and past history. I also shared that one of the most common patterns I see in soil is a lack of calcium. I related low calcium to America's faltering health due to low nutrient density of foods. In this email, I want to make the case that if you ignore calcium you do so at your own peril.

Before I jump in, I must say that the pattern of low calcium soil is not universal. There are some soils well supplied with calcium. They may consistently show 5, 10, even 15 thousand lbs. of calcium per acre on the Morgan test. These types of soils are usually found in Colorado, northern Iowa/southern Minnesota, Montana, and a broad selection of Texas. These soils have other problems to deal with like low phosphates and tied up trace minerals. Outside of these areas most soils struggle with low calcium.

Calcium has a tendency to sink out of the root zone and into the subsoil. This problem is exacerbated by high rainfall. Rain is nature's distilled water. As this water comes in contact with soil, its weak acid dissolves a small amount of calcium and carries it into the subsoil. This is why application of various calcium compounds such as limestone and gypsum are needed on an ongoing basis.

Calcium is by far and away the most deficient nutrient in most soils. For most crops I like to see at least 3,000 lbs. available per acre though certain crops such as soybeans prefer less than this. Let's put this in perspective by looking at the units required in lbs. per acre for various nutrients.

Trace Minerals - ones

Nitrogen and Sulfur - tens

Phosphorous, Magnesium, Potassium - hundreds

Calcium and carbons - thousands

While calcium is needed most in the soil in terms of weight it is also most abundantly supplied by calcium deposits all around the world. When I see such a great need and then see such a widespread supply, I see the wisdom of the Creator. All that is needed now is your stewardship. Somehow the calcium needs to be taken out of the ground, processed, and applied on your soil.

Let's look at areas that calcium plays a significant role in:

Soil Calcium to Magnesium ratio - The ideal is 7:1. When it goes lower, the soil becomes sticky. A low ratio also dissipates nitrogen back into the atmosphere causing a need for additional nitrogen. (Corn growers pay attention to this one.) Ca X 1.40 = Calcium Carbonate CaCO4

Needed to Move Trace Minerals - When calcium is abundant in soil and in the plant, its energy helps move trace minerals from the soil into the plant.

Calcium Determines the Volume of Yield - This needs more explanation, but tomorrow's email should help.

Needed for Cell Wall Strength and Integrity - Good quality produce comes from having healthy cells. This same mechanism helps plants ward off insects and disease.

Calcium is Needed by all Biology. In fact, every living cell requires calcium in its structure to be healthy. This includes soil microbiology. If calcium is low, both the plant and the soil microbes compete for the calcium and plants will suffer in the short term.

One of the least understood areas where calcium influences crops and soils is in the area of growth energy." This deserves a future discussion.

My neices husband has been picking my brain a little about calcium and soybean production.  Why do my students do better than I do?  They are younger and more abt to try what I preach even better than I do.

That is great thing.

Ed



4 comments:


  1. With high cash rents who wants to fix soils? It's just going to get auctioned off to the highest bidder when your lease is over. The whole ill apply all my fertilizer on my corn for my beans too plan.....then apply less then the corn crop removes....

    Here the Querry runs outta lime every year......I have one neighbor who has applied lime but not as much as i have....they don't crush enough for demand just what ever by product they have from crushing rock.

    Gypsum is like a mysterious substance around here....one guy had the coop spread it once....

    Local coop has to special order in pel lime and doesn't keep it In stock......ams is the same way....

    Stopped and talked to a farmer-chem guy today and saw the liquid fert tank on his planter and I got excited. He only runs fert on his beans and its all in-furrow. Walked around there warehouse getting some chem and no foliar fert and no micro nutrients in stock....

    What are we leaving on the table for yield each year? The answer for more grain is not spraying every pasture you see with rup and notill beans into it.....spraying headline isn't the answer either especially if there is no disease around.

    Younger guys like me ask questions and want to learn because we have open minds....old guys are set in there ways and won't change....

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    Replies
    1. Should be edited to say only liquid fert on his corn.....not beans

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  2. Yes I am more set in my ways than I used to be.

    I've seen the answer to more grain and I've led you to some sources.

    Gypsum is not an unknown substance there.

    The young guys I deal with don't have totally open minds. I can pry them a little one way or the other but they are just as set in their ways as their grandpa.

    Ed

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