Gypsum Study Shows Promise For Farming

A new study conducted by two agricultural economists brings to light the top reasons that crop growers apply gypsum to cropland. The study cites increased yields, valuable sulfur fertility and soil quality improvements as key benefits of gypsum use, contributing to positive financial returns.

“On average, gypsum users received $1.68 in return for every dollar invested in gypsum. In addition, gypsum significantly improved the productivity of their soil,” said Marvin Batte, PhD, professor emeritus of The Ohio State University. “Many gypsum users, especially longer-term users, experienced even higher returns. Plus, there were significant environmental benefits as well.”

Batte and a colleague, D. Lynn Forster, PhD, also professor emeritus of The Ohio State University, conducted the study. The research was sponsored by the GYPSOIL Division of Beneficial Reuse Management in collaboration with No-Till Farmer magazine.

The study involved an extensive review of published scientific literature, in-depth interviews with several long-time gypsum users and a survey of U.S. farmers. The survey was conducted among readers of No-Till Farmer, as well as farmers that were known purchasers of gypsum.

Big Returns For Yield, Improved Fertility

“Returns were highest for alfalfa where users experienced dramatic increases in yield,” said Batte. “In alfalfa, returns per dollar of gypsum cost were often 5:1 or higher. In corn, 2:1 or higher. And there were also excellent returns in other crops, such as soybeans and wheat.”

“Alfalfa is a crop with a high sulfur requirement and gypsum supplies sulfur in the sulfate form, which is readily available to plants, unlike elemental sulfur that must be converted to a usable form,” said Ron Chamberlain, lead agronomist for GYPSOIL. The value of sulfur in gypsum is more than $16 per acre for a 6-ton alfalfa yield and more than $5 per acre for a 200-bushel corn crop.

Producers also found that gypsum improved the effectiveness and efficiency of other plant nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Improved Soil Characteristics

While increased yield and improved fertility were among the easiest benefits to measure, improved soil quality was viewed by many – especially long-time gypsum users – as the most important benefit, according to study authors. Gypsum improves soil tilth and water infiltration, especially in soils with higher levels of clay or silt.

The most valuable soil improvement benefits, rated by a majority of users surveyed, included such items as improved plant rooting, improved seedling emergence, increased soil water retention, reduced runoff and improved absorption of nutrients. Enhanced soil biological activity was also noted.

“In all, there were more than 20 soil improvement characteristics that many gypsum users rated as ‘important,’” Batte said.

Long-term Users Apply More Gypsum

The researchers found that gypsum’s economic returns and other benefits increased over time. Farmers who adopted the practice of applying gypsum prior to 2010, for example, gave higher scores for all benefits tested than did newer users, according to Batte and Forster.

Nearly 30% of longer-term users applied gypsum to all of their farm acreage in 2012 or 2013. Long-term growers applied gypsum to 46% of their cropland compared with newer users who applied it to 34% on average.

The research showed that gypsum provided environmental and societal benefits, too. Soil-applied gypsum may serve as a means to stabilize phosphorus in the soil and reduce downstream effects of phosphorus movement, a nutrient blamed for excessive plant growth in streams, lakes and coastal waters.

“Realizing that gypsum easily pays for itself in yield increases alone will give growers confidence in adopting this practice,” Chamberlain says. “But yield is only part of the story. Many operators also experience improvements in fertilizer efficiency, less nutrient loss and improved drought tolerance due to improved moisture retention. Those are benefits to their bottom line and to the environment.”

Growers have used gypsum to some extent since colonial times. Recent use has grown dramatically due to the availability of larger quantities of low-cost gypsum. While gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined, it is also produced as a by-product in several industrial processes, as well as in the scrubbing of sulfur from coal-fired power plants.

SOURCE: GYPSOIL news release.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories

Crop Protection Products in storage
Crop InputsNewsweek: World Is ‘Awash In Glyphosate’
February 11, 2016
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become Read More
Crop InputsEPA: Let’s Talk Imidacloprid, Bees On February 18
February 11, 2016
EPA will hold an online technical briefing on its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on Feb. Read More
AdjuvantsUniversity of Illinois Confirms Adjuvant’s Performance
February 11, 2016
An independent University of Illinois study has shown that WETCIT adjuvant, now with TransPhloem technology, provides greater herbicide uptake and Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta’s Acuron Flexi Receives EPA Approval
February 11, 2016
Growers looking to control their toughest weeds with flexibility will have access to Acuron Flexi corn herbicide from Syngenta, now Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Crop Protection Products in storage
Crop InputsNewsweek: World Is ‘Awash In Glyphosate’
February 11, 2016
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become Read More
Crop InputsEPA: Let’s Talk Imidacloprid, Bees On February 18
February 11, 2016
EPA will hold an online technical briefing on its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on Feb. Read More
ManagementThe latest on Syngenta-ChemChina Deal
February 11, 2016
Executive Editor Paul Schrimpf invites Jackie Pucci and Dave Frabotta from sister publication AgriBusiness Global to discuss the latest developments Read More
AdjuvantsUniversity of Illinois Confirms Adjuvant’s Perfor…
February 11, 2016
An independent University of Illinois study has shown that WETCIT adjuvant, now with TransPhloem technology, provides greater herbicide uptake and Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta’s Acuron Flexi Receives EPA Approval
February 11, 2016
Growers looking to control their toughest weeds with flexibility will have access to Acuron Flexi corn herbicide from Syngenta, now Read More
EquipmentAGCO Showcases White Planters 9800VE Series Planters AT…
February 11, 2016
AGCO unveiled the new White Planters 9800VE Series planter during the 2016 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY. The Read More
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More