Calcium Sulfate Applications in Agriculture
Agricultural gypsum benefits
Indiscriminate and incorrect agricultural lands use can lead to increased soil sodium content and soil salinity. Calcium sulfate (CaSO4) Systematic use is one of the important improving field efficiency ways, especially in amending clay soils. Besides preventing sodium buildup in soil and amending sodic soils, there’re other using calcium sulfate advantages in soil. Include improved soil organic matter stability and soil aggregates, increased water infiltration into soil and improved seed germination rate. Together with water soluble polymers and nutrients, calcium sulfate provides better nutrition for plants. And also plays an important role in creating a better environment for plant growth.
Calcium compounds are one of the popular minerals in chemicals market, and fruits often face calcium deficiency when they’re growing. Sufficient amount of calcium available to fruits that are growing is one of the factors that increase their quality. Calcium moves very slowly from one part of a plant to its other parts. Therefore, fruits that receive it last in the calcium transport process usually experience its deficiency. Calcium must always be available to roots. It also improves nitrogen absorption by plants, especially when they are young.
Granules or powder?
It is noteworthy that the origin and particle size of calcium sulfate is very important in agriculture. In general, the smaller the particles of a mineral are the more available they will be to plants. Many calcium sulfate deposits are found on mountainsides. These deposits are exploded during their extraction to separate calcium sulfate from other substances and powder it in specific sizes. Calcium can also help in reducing ammonia evaporation. when ammonia, ammonium nitrate, urea, ammonium sulfate, and any ammonium phosphate are applied to soil.
In soils with high pH values, calcium is not sufficiently available to plants. Therefore, application of agricultural grade gypsum helps provide calcium. Calcium sulfate is also a source of sulfur, which is very important for plant growth. Sulfates that are absorbed and metabolized by plants release their oxygen. Nitrogen nitrate does the same thing with the difference that it releases more oxygen compared to sulfates.
Calcium sulfate also prevents soil crusting on surfaces and thus helps seedling emergence. It can even prevent crusting in acidic soils. Prevention of crust formation increases seed germination, accelerates seedling emergence. And allows farmers to harvest their crops earlier and send them to the markets. In such fields, seedling emergence percentage usually increases from 50% to 100%. There are mechanisms by which CaSO4 can adjust soil pH for satisfactory plant growth.
One of them is hydroxyl ions replacement by sulfate ions in some clay lattices. Agricultural grade calcium sulfate can reduce swelling and cracking in clay soils.Which are related to the high sodium levels in these soils. Since sodium is replaced by calcium in clay soils, they become less swollen. And hence the pore spaces through which air, water and roots move are not blocked.
Forms of calcium sulfate, dihydrate vs anhydrite
Various forms of the calcium sulfate are found in the agricultural chemicals market. There are two molecules of the water in every molecule of the calcium sulfate dihydrate. Whereas two formula units of the gypsum commercial form, which is called calcium sulfate hemihydrate, share one molecule of water. Anhydrite, or anhydrous calcium sulfate, has no water in its molecular structure.
It must be mentioned that the calcium sulfate dihydrate is the most reactive form of calcium sulfate in the soil. Because of its water molecules that strongly increase its solubility, Anhydrite and the calcium sulfate hemihydrate also have similar properties. But they are much less reactive compared to calcium sulfate dihydrate and require much more time for exhibiting their effects.
Benefits of Calcium Sulfate Applications in agriculture
- Calcium sulfate is also used to increase concentrations of salts in soft water used in irrigation. Irrigation water from rivers that no longer have soluble salts does not infiltrate well into soil. Or it degrades soil aggregates thereby reducing infiltration. Rainwater can behave in the same way and cause soil compaction. Applying calcium sulfate to soil surface, or using it in irrigation water, can solve this problem.
- Calcium sulfate improves infiltration in compacted soils and decreases penetration resistance. If very wet soil is plowed by machinery, it will become compacted. Use of calcium sulfate can reduce soil compaction in many types of soil.
- Soils treated with agricultural grade CaSO4 have a broader spectrum of moisture content and can be planted without compaction danger. This is made possible because seedbed preparation is facilitated and accompanied by weed control. In addition, less energy is required for land preparation.
- Calcium sulfate improves infiltration rate and soil hydraulic conductivity. Another using calcium sulfate advantage in agriculture is it protects soil against excessive runoff resulting from heavy rainstorms. That are accompanied by erosion.
- CaSO4 improves soil drainage and prevents its flooding caused by high sodium content combination, expansive clay soil and excessive rainwater. Increased infiltration rate and hydraulic conductivity caused by calcium sulfate application enable soils to have sufficient drainage.
- Calcium sulfate can help in removing excess boron from sodic soils and increase stability of soil organic matter. Agricultural grade calcium sulfate also detoxifies the excess magnesium in soil. It can also improve calcium/magnesium ratio in soils such as serpentine soils that lack a desirable calcium/magnesium ratio.
CalciSoil agricultural gypsum, is calcium sulfate dihydrate extracted from mineral deposits and is available for sale. For any inquiry or question do not hesitate to contact us.