Dealing with Acidic Soils

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

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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Interaction Between the Micronutrients

Of the sixteen nutrients that plants need to grow, develop, reproduce and remain healthy, there are seven that we refer to as micronutrients: zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), boron (B), chloride (Cl) and molybdenum (Mo).

While these nutrients are used in minute amounts, they are just as important to plant growth and development as the macronutrients and secondary nutrients, with some of them playing an important role in controlling key processes and the uptake of macros. For example, molybdenum deficiency reduces nitrogen and phosphorus uptake, while zinc deficiency can reduce overall plant vigor, growth and the uptake of other nutrients.

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