Farm Talk

Crops

April 23, 2013

Wildcat Extension Report: Can gypsum fix what ails your soil?

Parsons, Kansas — A man much wiser than me once said that the easiest way to change your soil is to move. Unfortunately, this is not always an option for most producers. Soils in southeast Kansas are classified, in general, to be heavy clay soils. On possible soil amendment that may help alleviate some of the issues caused by clay soils is gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate for the chemistry know-it-alls).

How does gypsum alter the soil? Potentially, it can improve soil aggregation. This simply means making larger particles of soil with better structure. Soils with better aggregation have improved water infiltration and a lower risk of runoff and erosion. Gypsum can also, potentially, lower aluminum toxicity in acidic soils and is a source of the essential plant nutrients calcium and sulfur.

DeAnn Presley, Kansas State University Soil Management specialist conducted a study near Marion, Kan. Across her study, five treatment levels were used. Before planting, 0, 0.5, 2.15, 4.30, and 8.60 tons per acre of mined gypsum were applied to the no-till grain sorghum field.

Prior to applying the amendment, soil samples were taken to get an accurate idea of how the added gypsum affected the field. Specifically, they wanted to know the level of cation (positively charged ions) concentrations. At harvest, grain yield, grain nitrogen and sulfur content were measured. After grain harvest, more soil samples were taken to measure stability. Also, they measured fertility components including pH, potassium, calcium, and sodium as well as the soil’s cation exchange capacity (a measure of how many cations a soil can hold).

As stated before, gypsum potentially can improve aggregation. Results from this study show that the highest level of gypsum (8.6 tons per acre) increased the number of large particles to a statistically significant amount higher than the other levels and reduced the amount of small particles to a statistically significant lower amount.

As expected, gypsum did not have any impact on the soil pH and increased the calcium concentration in the soil. However, there was no statistical difference in the grain levels of nitrogen or sulfur and, most importantly, no difference in yield.

It must be pointed out that these results came from a one year study. The potential benefits from applying gypsum may take more time to make the impact desired. For more information about gypsum, search for Gypsum as an Agricultural Amendment, by L. Chen and W.A. Dick of Ohio State University Extension.

If you are interested in participating in a gypsum research study on your farm please let me know. Additional research is being conducted and volunteers are needed. If you have questions or would like more information, please call me at the office 620-724-8233, or e-mail me at jcoltrain@ksu.edu, or visit the Wildcat Extension District website at www.wil dcatdistrict.ksu.edu. £

1
Text Only
Crops
  • Scientists complete chromosome based draft of wheat genome

    Several Kansas State University researchers were essential in helping scientists assemble a draft of a genetic blueprint of bread wheat, also known as common wheat. The food plant is grown on more than 531 million acres around the world and produces nearly 700 million tons of food each year.
    The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which also includes faculty at Kansas State University, recently published a chromosome-based draft sequence of wheat's genetic code, which is called a genome. "A chromosome-based draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome" is one of four papers about the wheat genome that appear in the journal Science.

    July 22, 2014

  • Drought & poor wheat harvest in Kan. has effects on nat’l economy

    The Kansas wheat harvest may be one of the worst on record — and the loss doesn't just hurt Kansas, according to a Kansas State University expert.

    July 15, 2014

  • Watch for corn leaf diseases

    In general, corn in southeast Kansas looks about as healthy as any reasonable producer might hope.

    July 1, 2014

  • Consider wind when applying herbicides

    Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields west of Lockwood on June 18 for the crop scouting program.

    June 24, 2014

  • WheatTour-007.jpg SW Mo. wheat tour yields nutrient tips

    Laying down nitrogen on the wheat fields is quite possibly one of the most complex and critical operations facing producers.

    June 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Corn planting nears completion, early condition good

    With corn planting nearly complete and emergence keeping pace with the five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first forecast for the condition of the 2014 U.S. corn crop.

    June 10, 2014

  • Harvesting short wheat

    In many areas of Kansas, prolonged drought has resulted in short wheat and thin stands. Harvesting wheat in these situations can be a challenge.

    June 3, 2014

  • Controlling large weeds in Roundup Ready soybeans

    Controlling large weeds is often considerably more difficult than controlling smal-ler weeds. The following are some suggestions for controlling larger troublesome weeds in soybeans.

    May 28, 2014

  • aflatoxin-corn.jpg Aflatoxin risk looms large for corn growers

    To diversify their farms and tap into high demand for one of agriculture’s most profitable crops, dryland farmers more familiar with growing wheat and milo are eager to try their hand at corn.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kan. wheat crop smallest since 1996

    WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is expected to produce its smallest winter wheat crop since 1996, an indication of a deepening drought across the nation's wheat belt, the government said in its first official forecast of the growing season.

    May 13, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content