Dealing with Acidic Soils

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Soil pH is a key factor in farmland as it controls availability of nutrients, microbial activity and crop productivity. Before delving into what causes soils to become acid and the steps to take to treat and correct acidic soil, we must first establish what is considered an optimal pH for crop production.

For most prairie crops, a soil pH range of 6.0 to 8.0 is suitable for optimal growth and development. Soils with pH ranging from 5.6 to 6.0 are considered moderately acid, while strongly acid and very strongly acidic soils have pH ranging from 5.1-5.5 to <5.0, respectively. Crops have difficulty establishing and show a decline in productivity and yield in soils with a pH below 6.0.

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Fighting Salinity and Sodicity Effects with a Nutritional Approach

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Soil salinity can occur naturally or be caused by human activity – continuously irrigating with water that has a high salt concentration, for example. While some crops are tolerant to saline soils, high concentrations of some salts can be toxic to others. Salinity can also affect a plant’s uptake of water and absorption of nutrients.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the causes and consequences of salinity and sodicity, and how producers can take a nutritional approach to lower the impact on their crops.

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Calcium: The Brick of It All

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Calcium (Ca) is the backbone of every living organism, including plants. Although a plant’s needs for calcium can be as high as its needs for nitrogen and potassium, it is classified as a secondary nutrient. In this post, we examine the importance of calcium and the factors that can limit its availability to plants.

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The Role of Silica in Field Crops

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It has been over a decade since the discovery of how plants take up and re-translocate silica (Si), one of the most abundant elements on earth. Further focus on the element has revealed that it plays an important role in alleviating the effects of biotic and abiotic stress; however, still much remains to be understood.

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Celebrating the 350th Anniversary of the Discovery of Phosphorus

2019 marks the 350th anniversary of Henning Brand’s discovery of phosphorus, making this the perfect opportunity to reflect on our relationship with the element: what was our farming like without it, how did it change our current farming practices and how should we manage it to preserve its sustainability?

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