Calcium is one of the most overlooked nutrients in plants while being essential for growth and production.
What is the function of calcium?
Nutrients that plants need are categorized into main nutrients, micronutrients, and trace elements. Primary nutrients include elements like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Meanwhile, calcium (and many other elements such as iron, zinc, manganese, etc.) is considered a micronutrient. Some examples of trace elements include molybdenum, nickel, and selenium.
Calcium is one of the primary “trucker” nutrients in soil. Calcium binds to nutrients like nitrogen and transports it directly to the plant. Without the proper calcium base saturation (65-75%), nutrients become bound up in the soil, and though they may be there, they are unable to get into the plant and therefore have no effect.
Calcium’s second crucial role in the plant is in cell division. When a plant grows, each cell divides into new cells, which divide again and again. Calcium is the catalyst for this cell division process. Without calcium, cells won’t divide, new cells won’t form, and the plant will not grow. Low calcium levels can mean slower growth, greater risk for disease, and poor crop production.
What are the benefits of calcium plants?
Having appropriate levels of calcium will:
· Increase plant growth
· Increase plant production
· Create healthy soil
· Promote healthy plant tissue
· Increase yields and profit
Calcium is the first step in treating a field. It will aerate the soil, allowing water and nutrients to get to the plant. Base saturation is frequently overlooked on a soil test, but it reveals the percentage quantity of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and hydrogen in the soil. The lower the saturation for calcium and magnesium, the more nitrogen will build up in the soil. This is what causes a pH to become acidic. When hydrogen blocks the movement of nutrients in the soil to the plant, growth is hindered, and fertilizer gets bound up and wasted. By applying calcium and getting that base saturation to an optimal level, water is better disbursed and retained, leading to healthier and stronger plants. Base saturation of calcium and magnesium is directly correlated to soil pH, so if a field suffers from low pH, calcium should be the first treatment.
Get a comprehensive soil test done to determine if you need to add calcium to your soil. You can get this here.
Does liquid calcium affect soil pH?
Not all liquid calcium will raise soil pH, but AgriTec’s bio-activated liquid calcium has been proven to neutralize soil pH. Soil pH is a measure of the soil’s acidity, which is determined by the amount of hydrogen (H+) built up in the soil. Hydrogen is an acidic cation, whereas calcium and magnesium are basic cations. Balancing soil pH is simply balancing the levels of the cations at a state that maximizes nutrient availability in the soil. Soil is the nutrient storehouse for plants. The cations are measured in the soil based on a 100% soil capacity. When there is a high percentage of hydrogen in the soil compared to the other main cations, soil pH turns acidic. However, increasing calcium and magnesium levels will lower the hydrogen levels and raise soil pH.
How does liquid calcium work?
Liquid calcium works because it quickly adds the needed calcium to the soil, which raises base saturation and balances soil pH. This is similar to adding calcitic lime to the soil, but the most significant difference is that lime will take 6-12 months to break down and produce results. In contrast, liquid calcium will go to work immediately.
Liquid calcium is a more effective way of producing the same results lime does, only without the added risks. When liming, the limestone releases soluble calcium into the soil and raises pH. But only a small percentage of limestone will become available calcium. Most of the limestone will settle out in the soil, causing hard plates and soil compaction over time. Simply put, liquid calcium will balance soil pH, rid the soil of sage weeds, and boost overall plant growth and health.
This method of farming has been around for years and years. Only in the past, it was not always an affordable option. For years, dry lime dominated the industry because of its affordability. However, with current ag prices plus the cost of trucking and spreading, liquid calcium is the more affordable option and the better option for correcting soil pH.
What are the advantages of liquid fertilizer?
There are a lot of reasons to make the switch to liquid fertilizer. Michigan State University performed 30 years of research on liquid and granular fertilizer effects. They found that only 20% of granular fertilizer makes it into the plant. There will be 4.5 times more nutrients available to the plant in 100lbs of liquid than 100lbs of the same analysis in a dry fertilizer material.
Six gallons per acre of a 10-20-10 liquid plant food weighing 11.4 pounds per gallon will weigh about 68 pounds. Assuming an availability of 90%, the plant would receive about 61 pounds of fertilizer per acre. Further breaking this down in terms of N, P, and K, the plant should receive and use 6.1 pounds of nitrogen (10% N), 12.2 pounds of phosphorus (20%), and 6.1 pounds of potash (10% K).
As noted from the above calculations, six gallons of liquid fertilizer would provide as much nutrition to the plant as 300 pounds of dry fertilizer.
When you apply granular fertilizer, 80% of it is wasted, and money is automatically lost. In contrast, liquid fertilizer goes directly into the plant and is used more effectively, meaning that the plant receives more nutrients.
Which fertilizer is high in calcium?
AgriTec offers a wide range of products to meet what needs your fields are experiencing. There is an effective program for everyone that will increase both crop health and yield. Bio-activated liquid calcium is available in both Pro-Cal and Advanced-Cal. Pro-Cal is a reliable and effective calcium source comparable to ag-lime but more precise and fast-acting. Advanced-Cal offers everything Pro-Cal does, only with added amino acids, humic acid, root growth stimulators, germinators, seed starters, and 52 added micronutrients and minerals.
To determine your field’s best needs, contact us for a free soil consultation.